NE is a new hair salon in Osaka, but you’d be forgiven for mistaking it for a modern art museum (or some kind of sensory-deprivation tank).
The place — designed by Japan’s Teruhiro Yanagihara — doesn’t have a single old-timey barber’s chair or even the requisite ’80s-era photo of an overly enthusiastic hair model in sight. In fact, to judge by the images, it doesn’t have any of the standard signs of a room, like, you know, windows and door handles. Instead, you’ve got slits for doors and wall flaps for lighting fixtures and mirrored cubes that could’ve been lifted from a Robert Morris exhibit for barber stands. NE makes a Carthusian charterhouse look like the Venetian.
We’re suckers for all things white and sculptural, so naturally, we think the space is lovely. Still, it’s enough to give even the most die-hard minimalist pause. Clean lines are one thing. But a salon that’s deadset on erasing every last contextual clue to its purpose makes us worry that the hairdressers apply the same formal rigor and spare aesthetic to their work — not everyone wants to look like Anna Wintour.
[Images by Takumi Ota]