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An Artists Studio by Clive Rhodes

This succinct brief gave me considerable scope, and I could see the analogy of the hairdresser portraying his customer with the mirror as his canvas as he worked with scissors as a palette of colours. So the Salon would be his studio, a cosy intimate and sumptuous space, elegant rooms for private one on one consultation and the creation of a work of art.

The interior would have period paneling with windows furnished with stylish fabrics, the floors of hardwood.

What could be better to fulfil this brief than a fabric that represented the work of Rococo artist of the 18th century Francois Boucher. The voluptuous depiction of Venus and her coterie. Our “panelling” would be represented by a distinctive wallpaper in the entrance hall, staircase and upper salon. The Boucher Venus also available as a wallpaper, would distinguish the ground floor salon. Here, the original fireplace was too far gone to retain, so I proposed a relatively inexpensive period surround in fibrous plaster to be decorated. The fabric here was necessarily differentiated to harmonise rather than match the Venus wallpaper.

The first floor salon windows were furnished with my signature cornice pelmets, upholstered in the Venus fabric, supporting blinds in the same fabric. An existing flat frieze, about ten centimetres deep ran around the top of the wall, hiding cables but, unadorned, posed the possibility of adding some relevant decoration and I suggested a series of texts concerning the cultural significance of hair.

I chose poets and lyricists, including figures as diverse as Sylvia Plath, Madonna and Arthur Sullivan. The pyramid ceiling was decorated to echo the Boucher artwork. The client was able to procure his chairs in materials of colours also derived from the painting too.

Task lighting in the form of overhead downlighters suspended from twin cable systems was supported with accent lighting with a contemporary touch.

Mirrors for the clients of the salon served as the canvas for the hairdressers and were mounted on structures in the form of easels.

The modus operandi of the salons provided for one client at a time but to cater for the inevitable overlap that would occasionally arise, the client’s own cinema seats were pressed into service in a handsome fabric of Jean Paul Gaultier in our theme colours and titled “Oxidation”. These had the benefit, when not in use, of seats tipped up out of the way in the narrow space.

The mini kitchen was decorated with painted stripes of the theme colours turquoise and copper.

The discreet entrance door we painted in the aquamarine of the Boucher work and the painted facade was finished in a warm and welcoming Venetian red.

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