At first glance, the new Aveda Lifestyle Salon & Spa Shinsaibashi, in Osaka, Japan, looks perfect, from the impeccable Tamo wood millwork to the sleek, custom-designed styling stations. But it's really the imperfections that make the salon special, like the scratches on the oak floor planks that were made from beams recovered from a demolished sake warehouse, and also on the distressed shelving in the retail area, constructed from recycled wood that was taken from a dismantled farmhouse in the city of Fukuoka.
Living indoor plants, seen here in the spa reception area, were selected for their ability to clean the air by absorbing particle and vapor pollutants through their leaves.
The second Aveda flagship to open in Western Japan, the space was constructed in adherence to Aveda's green design standards. Many of the materials were locally harvested, recycled or sustainable. Elina Cardet, an architect and Aveda's director of flagship and global retail design, says the design revolved around the Japanese concept of Wabi-Sabi, which sees beauty in imperfections, quirks and contrasts. "It's all about pairing opposites," says Cardet. "We decided to celebrate and keep many of the original elements that existed in the space when we found it, such as the raw concrete columns, but then we paired them with sophisticated and pristine wood walls. We also matched dark, opaque walls in the spa rooms with glowing, translucent glass panels."
With soft lighting and earthy green walls finished with an ancient Japanese technique that uses straw and mud, the spa rooms are sensual and warm.
The Aveda design and merchandising teams worked for months to get ready for business. Every decision, from the size of the towels to the style of the robes, was carefully thought out; every service was specially tailored to the Japanese culture; every product geared toward the Japanese market. A healthful café on the first floor, called C's Garden, furthers Aveda's mission of connecting wellness and beauty. All told, this new salon and spa will serve as the ideal base for expanding Aveda's business and network salons in Western Japan. —C.W.
Clockwise, from Left: The salon area, with Takara Belmont chairs and custom-designed styling stations, is flooded with natural light and has an open, airy atmosphere much different from the cocoon-like feel of the spa; reclaimed wood from Africa, found in a Japanese antique dealer's basement, hangs on the rear of the wall in the shampoo area; the unique hair spa, where guests receive relaxing hair treatments, has its own shampoo station and massage chair; the spa waiting area is composed of environmentally friendly Durapalm flooring.