Creating gender neutral spaces – Kyiv

Concrete arch and gold details define Say No Mo, a beauty salon in Kyiv that Balbek Bureau designed to avoid gender stereotypes. Interesting, the ‘heart’ of the salon is a bar used for both beauty services and traditional cocktail receptions. The main task faced by Balbek Bureau from the very start of the design process was to break away from a traditional perception of a conventional beauty salon, and its gender distinction, which to be honest is something I personally have never thought about.
One of the main visual accents of the salon is located in the reception area, the cast-in-situ concrete ‘broken’ arch serves as a metaphor for broken stereotypes in the beauty industry. The construction of this form was a multi-phased process; it took more than 4 months from the docking assembly to the final joining of shears and toning of the structure. The reception counter is also made of cast-in-situ concrete and visually resembles a stone block. However, the monolithic look does not impede its functionality – it has a desktop and plug-in connection spots to ensure a fully functional workspace. The reception zone has a lounge area with furniture groups and a fireplace that serves not only as a waiting area but also as a place to socialise during cocktail parties.
Another main element and a signature mark of the interior is a set of the rounded ‘golden’ panels. Their shape envelopes the walls and columns and visually joins the 3 zones : the entrance to the salon, the bar, and the pedicure zone.

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