Nailing it: Fran Hickman’s Albers-inspired interiors for Paintbox NYC

An Upper East Side nail salon reflects Josef Albers' colour theory

A bright room with a green couch to the left, a marble bar with bar stools in the center, and a spiral staircase to the right.
(Image credit: Alice Gao)

Royal purple surfaces meet coloured concrete basins inside this nail studio in New York’s Upper East side, designed by Fran Hickman. The guys at Paintbox — who strongly encourage us to treat our nails as a powerful accessory — already have a downtown flagship in Soho, and dedicate each of their spaces to high-design nail art.

For its second outpost, the new uptown Paintbox eschews the over-feminised decor of most nail salons of its kind, opting instead for a highly tailored approach with an unexpected palette of colours.

Reflecting Paintbox’s enthusiasm for nail colour combinations, the design draws inspiration from Josef Albers, the visionary German-American artist known for geometric expressionism. Many of the themes that Albers picks up in his revolutionary work Interaction of Color, in particular, the tension colours have on their surroundings — are reflected in the design of the space.

A purple ottoman to the left, a metal table in the center, and a green couch to the right. A purple shelf with nail polishes is on the wall above the couch.

(Image credit: TBC)

A green, and gray marble-like sitting area.

(Image credit: TBC)

Spread across two floors, a purple hue runs throughout the store, seen in the acrylic tiered shelving holding the Power Couples (a curated line of polish pairings based on colour theory) to the rounded wool benches. Moving through the palette, mild pinks are found on the textured walls and dainty perforated window curtains; a sofa is upholstered in yellow boucle while a Calcatta marble nail bar is fitted with iridescent barstools.

The colours were so rousing to creative director Mabelyn Martin, that she decided to design a series of new nail art to reflect the interiors unique elements. The collection pairs together the complementary shades seen in Hickman’s interiors.

A closer look at the marble bar with bar stools in olive green leather and metal to the left. To the right, we see a metallic bar with shelves on the wall with nail polishes.

(Image credit: TBC)

A purple ottoman with flowers next to a window to the left. To the right, we see olive green walls with tiny stone flooring.

(Image credit: TBC)



20 East 69th Street
New York
NY 10021