Text description provided by the architects. Evoking a journey of renewal, the Roji Salon is a compact boutique salon adjoining Hotel Hotel in the NewActon Nishi Development in Canberra.
Embracing the metaphor of the traditional ‘roji’ path leading to the teahouse in the Japanese tea ceremony, which marks the separation between the everyday world and the retreat, this design celebrates the sense of retreat and renewal associated with the salon ritual. The ‘Roji’ concept was subsequently adopted by the Client as the salon identity.
Entered from the Hotel Hotel lounge, the tenancy is conceived of as a transitional journey inviting the user to live within the moment, by awakening their senses through a strategic introduction of raw materiality and natural lighting. This is achieved over 3 key zones.
The dark stained OSB entry zone is an interstitial threshold zone between the Hotel and the Salon. Defined by the large sweep of the existing Hotel Hotel steel gate by March Studio, this zone contains the dark stained forms of the kitchenette integrated behind the open gate and custom reception desk which pivots on a pole to maximise space. This flows elegantly into the lighter styling area. Akin to a petrified space, this is defined by a soft grey stained plywood wall and ceiling wrap with expressed ribs, and features integrated styling stations and lighting ‘skylights’. Rich spotted gum accents at the styling benches, light and mirror reveals, highlight moments of sensory activation.
The sequence culminates in the tranquil, cork lined basin area, animated by natural sunlight and a contemplative framed view onto external landscaped planter beds. Portholes in the cork wall, reveal glimpses of the existing steel and glass marble wall by March Studio, and are gently lit to provide a glowing trace through to the hotel airlock in the evening.
Back of house spaces are concealed within a panelised natural plywood box with express display boxes. Nested within the styling area, this volume delineates the threshold between the styling and basin areas.
Beyond the tenancy, the fixed glass shopfront to the Hotel Hotel airlock offers inviting glimpses within. Expressed shelves on the corner of the nested back of house volume provide a visual ‘sculptural pivot’ to choreograph an approach sequence progressing from the initial framed glimpse from the airlock to a visual reoccurrence at the entry.
Combining this with integration of the existing steel gate, timber lattice and glass marble steel wall reflects a commitment to engaging the social and communal aspects of the surrounding environment.
Mirroring the use of organic and sustainable hair products in the salon, the material palette of the salon is predominantly timber and cork products, with sustainable water based stains.