Brad Johns, Clairol global color director and artistic director of Avon Salon & Spa, creates a haven of luxury with the opeing of his new color studio

Art has always been an important part of my personal and professional life, as well as my environment. Avon Salon & Spa is a beautiful space; in the six years that I've been here, I've worked in a number of different areas in the salon. But while these areas have all been good, they haven't been exactly right for me. So I approached general manager Jill-Marie DePrado and said, "It's time for me to have my own space, and to design it myself." Thanks to her, and the brilliant efforts of architect David Mann, The Brad Johns Color Studio is about to become a reality.

 Brad Johns
Brad Johns

From the very start, I wanted a private, intimate enclave for my clients, not so much to seclude them from the bustle of the salon, but rather to offer them a relaxing setting where they would be part of my swirl of activity, and where I wouldn't be concerned with outside stimuli interfering with my consultations and my art. In my room it's just me and my six assistants, treating my clients like they're in a boutique salon, not on a conveyor belt.

When I started thinking about the decor, I knew I wanted black and white. I wear black, my assistants wear black, and the clients' robes are black. This way, when I stand behind my clients, all I see is their eye, skin and haircolor. But since I hadn't even met David Mann, I didn't want to commit myself to this scheme until he had had a chance to see the salon itself, with its rich brown, gold and other earth tones. So when Jill-Marie came back to me and told me that David absolutely wanted black and white, I was amazed. I knew this was going to be an exciting experience.

Light, sound, air quality and the materials were important factors in designing the space. There's a big window at one end, and I really like the combination of sunlight and artificial light. Light is how you see color; if the lighting is wrong, too gold or too green, the color is totally off. As for sound, my clients will never have to hear the drone of blow-dryers again. Having my own music playing in the background, like jazz, will complete the ambiance I've always wanted. Finally, I made sure the ventilation system is truly state-of-the-art as well, to keep the smell of fumes away from the clients.

The decor is sleek and monochromatic. As an artist, I have always loved Plexiglas—that's my child-of-the-'60s thing—so I'm using it on the walls and tables. It's shiny and easy to clean. There's a private area, draped off by a glistening black plastic drape, for those clients desiring a little VIP treatment. I'm also including a Plexiglas case to display my line of hair jewelry and an occasional one-of-a-kind piece from my private collection.

The Color Studio is a beautiful gallery for all my art forms: haircolor, jewelry and painting. But it's also a tool for me to grow my business. I will probably start by having my assistants, who mean everything to me, do some of the work I can't do when I'm away from the salon, extending our business from four days to six. This way, they become an extension of me and my art, and I get to watch them grow with the space. Now, the time is right.