The System – A Paul Mitchell Partner School / Dake | Wells Architecture

© Architectural Imageworks

The challenge was to transform the interior of a 10,500 sqf banal retail center into a salon and education facility worthy of the Paul Mitchell brand while meeting an extremely tight budget and rapid construction schedule. In order to meet the challenge, the design solution focuses on three key elements: color, light and composition.

Architect: Dake | Wells Architecture
Location: , Missouri, USA
Project Area: 10,500 sqf
Project Year: 2005
Photographs: Architectural Imageworks

© Architectural Imageworks

The straightforward planning concept is inspired by the Paul Mitchell line of hair care products. Smaller spaces with a need for plumbing are organized into a “tube of color” along one edge of the space, recalling the tubes used for coloring hair. Vibrant orange and white light are squeezed from the tube as it bends toward the entry to greet visitors to the “color bar” where trainees are instructed in the chemistry of hair color.

© Architectural Imageworks

Inspired by Paul Mitchell packaging, the palette is black and white with colored accents marking the reception area and backbar units. Light sources placed below rather than overhead transform the space by adding drama and mystery.

© Architectural Imageworks

New construction was conceived as objects inserted into the existing building shell, celebrating the “sweet and sour” relationship between the two. Vertical banners made using stock Paul Mitchell photography convert interior columns into larger than life glamour models. Although constructed for only $32 per square foot, the interior brings metropolitan glamour and style to a small town suburban retail center.


View this project in Google Maps

* Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
Cite: "The System – A Paul Mitchell Partner School / Dake | Wells Architecture" 16 Apr 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed 23 May 2015. <>
  • dE_fOrmA

    An amazing layout!