Phillip WithersPlants make a new hair salon cutting edge

Winter for me can become one of those times were you feel like life can get cold, monotonous and somewhat repetitive, so I personally use this time to plan things that will excite the senses and involve me and my staff in areas that will keep us all inspired. One of these interesting little projects came up recently when we enjoyed collaborating with a whole host of different people, bringing to life the new headquarters for the renown Valonz Haircutters in Paddington, Sydney.

Valonz Haircutters Sydney. Planting design Phillip Withers

Valonz Haircutters Sydney. Planting design Phillip Withers

For those of you that aren’t in the whole hairdressing game (such as me) these guys have a cult following and, as I now know, they play host to some of the world’s leading actors, actresses, designers and celebrities both locally and internationally.

Hairdressing salons are not a usual hangout for me as a landscape designer, so it was an exciting and unique opportunity, brought to me by the wonderfully talented interior designer Marie Kosta from Eklectic Interiors. Here was somewhere I could express my design ideas within a totally different, yet fun, environment.

Valonz Haircutters. Planting design Phillip Withers

Valonz Haircutters. Planting design Phillip Withers

Valonz are cutting edge (literally!) so the palette that Marie brought together expresses this feeling, with contemporary yet classy finishes such as stone benches and gloss-white subway tiles. Then Marie added contrast and warmth with herringbone patterned timber floors, brass planters and feature lighting draped through the planting.

Valonz Haircutters Sydney. Planting design Phillip Withers

Valonz Haircutters Sydney. Planting design Phillip Withers

This is where we came in, helping to complete the look Marie wanted by adding plants that could handle being inside, although we were lucky to have ample natural light seeping in through louvred windows and also reflected around the space by the many mirrors. Here we could create that playful, but lush and luscious feeling that Marie and I had spoken about, with plants spilling from their containers and draping down walls, and stretching up from benches and shelves, with the overall effect being multiplied by the surrounding large mirrors.

Valonz Haircutters Sydney. Planting design Phillip Withers

Valonz Haircutters Sydney. Planting design Phillip Withers

We selected from a diverse range of plants to fill the brass hanging planters and Japanese string balls sourced from Pop Plants. The plants we chose both needed to be tough, but also lush such as Epipremnum aureum, Peperomia obtusifolia, Rhipsalis and Casuarina ‘Cousin It’. The longest plant cascades down over 1.2m (4 feet). We also used Crassula Bluebird for its fuzzy yet unique foliage, Raphiolepsis ‘Oriental Pearl’, and Sansevieria trifasciata var. laurentii for its striking architectural but narrow form. Scott of Evoke Landscaping worked with us to install all the planters.

Valonz Haircutters, Sydney. Art by Brian W Connolly. Planting design Phillip Withers

Valonz Haircutters, Sydney. Art by Brian W Connolly. Planting design Phillip Withers

One great benefit of including plants in the interior design that the staff and clients won’t notice is how all these plants will also work to clean the air of any VOCs from cosmetics and haircare and styling products. Small micro-organisms in the planting mix learn to ‘eat’ VOCs, keeping the air cleaner.

I always want to incorporate some ‘pop’, and this time it was with a dwarf lemon. Yes, that’s right, a lemon tree (Citrus ‘Lemonicious’) which was also planted into one of the Japanese string balls in a bright, well-lit position. It’s fast becoming a hit for the studio.

It was a playground for expression with artist Brian W Connolly coming in to paint his colourful and iconic figurative faces to finish off. This is, to date, one of the most funky collaborations I have been involved in…

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Phillip Withers

About Phillip Withers

Phillip started his design through more art based development studying a Diploma in Arts at RMIT. He was then drawn to garden design through garden maintenance and construction, studying a Diploma in Landscape Design and Sustainability at Swinburne University. He started Phillip Withers Landscape Design and has been lucky enough to create 3 show gardens in different forms, from achievable, to student, to professional. He has also taught Computer Aided Design with Kangan Institute and now Swinburne University. Phil is also a keen traveller and believes that it is the key to keeping design interesting…

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