David Marshall

By Ruth Kennelly

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Forma Magazine, Volume 5 Issue 1.

The minute you reach the ‘pietra basaltina’ granite steps of David Marshall’s new salon on Dawson’s Street it is clear that design in all its many facets is at play.

From the copper metal of the out side finishes to the interior marble floors, the materials draw the eye through a well-designed space. The interior architect on this job, Ulla Enkvist had worked on David Marshall’s school on Georges street and as a result was asked to over see the design of this new flagship salon. Her aim was to create a golden theme with a mixture of gold and aluminium.

A focus on high specifications on this project enabled the commissioning of Shane Holland to design all of the work positions, mirrors, reception desk, lighting and the unique cow hide bench in the waiting area.

Without doubt this bench is the most eye-catching feature of the salon. With its cow hind leather, hair still attached and its unique shape its covered outline supports the brief of having a flow and movement through the space.

Sitting comfortably on the cowhide bench Oliver Caulfield, managing director at the salon, stressed to me the importance of feeling relaxed and at ease in the new space.
“ A client could be sitting in the chair for up to 3 hours so a relaxed atmosphere with interesting interior details leads to a more pleasurable experience”

With the use of natural materials and a design aim that had simplicity at its core, Enkvist ahs managed to create a modern salon that sacrifices nothing in functionality yet raises the design mantle for their competition.

At the outset, the brief for this project was to create a natural flow through the space and to use only natural materials. The reception desk stays true to the brief in that it is a curved piece made from oxidised copper metal and maple wood. L.E.D’s are fitted into the floor at the base of the desk and they highlight the variance of colour in the oxidised metal.

Curved display cabinets to the left of the desk were designed by Enkvist and manufactured by cabinetmaker Jan Watt, they are curved MDF with a white lacquer finish, this storage is deceptively large unit holds all of the required retail items. Holland sourced cold cathode lamp strips so that the lighting can be left on through out the night in the salon.

In the main body of the space where the hair styling is carried out there is retro feel as a result of black and chrome leather chairs that where sourced in Japan, Shane fitted an oxidised metal strip on to the arm rests to carry the theme though out all of the furniture. Above each stylist’s position are mirrors that where hand finished so each is slightly different. They again use copper, oxidised metal with gold inlay.

The stylist’s positions are maple inlayed with gold and aluminium. The design here is functional with eye-catching details such as the linear metal inserts running down the front of the units. The positions are suspended to add to the feeling of space and the contemporary handles and carved wooden tops were all the work of Holland.

The marble floor on the ground floor was a contentious issue, as the dye’s used on a regular bases can stain this natural material irrevocably. To combat this issue and maintain the desired look, they decided to use a ceramic coordinating tile in the basement and it is here that all of the colouring is carried out.

Another problem solved was that of the low ceiling leading from the ground floor downstairs. In the original design they was a arch fitted here that highlighted the low level, when this arch was removed there was a concern that clients would bump their heads on a regular bases. Shane decided to wrap this low area in foam and cover it with cowhide, which not only draws attention to the area but also protects from accidental injury!

In the 1980’s, the salon was designed with a Romanesque theme. This included murals on the walls depicting the heads off ancient figures. Ulla mentions that it would have been a pity to cover these, so the paintwork avoids these heads and they will be covered with an acrylic layer to give the impression of a museum piece.

Artwork and sculpture also adds another element to the scheme. Oliver, states that all of the pieces were sourced through Loretto Meagher at the Leinster Gallery. These pieces, specifically the sculpture of a bursting fruit by Ann Cooney at the rear of the salon give the space a modern art gallery feel as opposed to a city centre salon.

With the use of natural materials and a design aim that had simplicity at its core, Enkvist ahs managed to create a modern salon that sacrifices nothing in functionality yet raises the design mantle for their competition. The use of unique furniture through out and the confidence to reject the typical confines of the salon interior make this a project worth checking out.


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