Montreal’s newest architectural barber shop is a clean-cut ode to minimalism

Montreal’s newest architectural barber shop is a clean-cut ode to minimalism

Montreal-based Ivystudio (née Obiekt), has started as it means to go on with its first project – a minimalist barber shop in the heart of the city’s increasingly design-savvy Pointe Saint-Charles neighborhood. Crisp is a reflection of its owner’s desire to create ‘a barber shop like no other’, shining an undistratacted spotlight on the artful work of its barbers without compromising functionality.

‘Our design approach constantly experiments with new forms and materials in order to continually redefine the relationship between a space and its user,’ explain the up-and-coming design firm, comprising Philip Staszewski and Gabrielle Rousseau. Using a narrow material palette, and mineral colour scheme, the duo has created a space far removed from the macho, dark interiors common to the stereotypical barber shop; side-stepping overused tropes like checkered flooring and wood cladding.

Inside Crisp barber shop, Montreal

Concealed cabinetry at Crisp, Montreal

Instead, floors have been stripped to the original concrete slab, left slightly rough, and walls are treated in a bright white wash, while portable barber stations make use of naturally lightened oak. Aside from the delicate, minty hint of the light fixtures and potted greenery, the only colour present is that of the monolithic counter; rendered in richly veined marble, that acts as an anchor in a pale sea. Positioned as it is, directly in the centre of the symmetrically designed shop, it ladens the space with a sense of zen. Clutter is notably absent, too, bar a mural-like wall of local products. Branding is kept to a minimum – the neon ‘Crisp’ sign zinging across the wall is more Tracey Emin-inspired artwork than company logo.

As barber shops and hair salons continue to outgrow their remit as functional service providers, and become places for socialising and relaxation, the restful nature of their design is becoming ever more important. Crisp is a cut above.

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