Men’s Culture MLC Centre – Sydney, Australia

Australian men’s hair salon and barbershop brand Men’s Culture has recently opened a new salon in Sydney. The now two-salon brand has again trusted the design of its shop to Sydney-based Adam Burns, founder of MADA Studio.

The Men’s Culture MLC is located on the sixth floor of the iconic Sydney Central Business District landmark tower, the Bauhaus-style MLC Centre. In the tiny, 27 square-metre (290 sq.f t), T-shaped, windowless space, the designers did not have much room to maneuver yet they opted for a darkly masculine colour scheme and strong, solid materials and shapes.

Four hair/grooming stations, two shampoo chairs, sinks, a washing machine, a hot-towel machine and retail shelves all had to fit into the small space and still leave room for the team to work freely and the clients to not feel claustrophobic.

MADA Studio solved the dilemma with a skin that wraps around the space and incorporates the key operational elements within it. Textured metal, concrete and mirrors create a slightly reflective, space-enhancing feel and the monolithic galvanized-steel cupboard with its curved edges at the back gives a visual focal point. The curved corners also draw attention to the exposed piping and rough concrete walls, which in turn helps create a sense of height and space. Much of the clutter is hidden behind the sliding panels which further enhances the sense of clarity and order.

We like the contrasting warmth that comes from the inspired bur sparse use of walnut, brass and marble. Perhaps the cleverest of all material and colour choices in this space is the warm-hued cork flooring. It gives an overall soft and light surface and because it matches the colour of the shopping centre’s travertine marble flooring, it gives the shop an impressively spacious-looking “decompression” area at the entrance.

The MCL Centre was designed in 1972-1975 by the late Austrian-born Australian architect Harry Seidler. With its glass and  white concrete and quartz, the tower is a sculptural testament to the vision of one of Australia’s leading Modernist architects. But it is also a living part of the city and with its $170-million facelift and re-development the Centre has 6,000 square metres (64,583 sq. ft) of new or redeveloped retail space spanning four levels. It also includes 67 floors of office space.

The first Men’s Culture shop, also designed by MADA Studio, is located in the Haymarket neighbourhood in Darling Square’s bustling Steam Mill Lane. Tuija Seipell

Images by Stuart Hughes

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