People look at artworks rather than their own reflections at DKUK, a hair salon in south London designed by Sam Jacob Studio.
Set among a row of shops on Peckham’s Queens Road, DKUK intends to be a hybrid of culture, education, and commercial activity.
The space, designed by Sam Jacob Studio, provides a larger home for the hairdresser, which was previously tucked away down a nearby narrow arcade of shops.
“The new design combines cultural space with social enterprise to support new approaches to how art and life can be brought together productively, making a new type of gallery space and new ways of showing art,” head of the studio, Sam Jacob, explained.
“Our design acts like a framework that enables all kinds of exciting possibilities to occur at their intersection.”
The front half of the space is dedicated to the hairdressers and has been completed with simple black floors and white slatted walls.
Mirrors have been traded for various pieces of art, which visitors can look at while getting their hair trimmed and styled.
In the back half of the shop a large yellow-frame structure incorporates desks where staff can sit and work and open-shelves.
At its end is what appears to be a see-through cabinet, which at the flick of a switch can become reflective, allowing customers to see their finished haircut.
“The dual function of the vitrine and mirror embodies DKUK’s double experience of salon and gallery and dramatises the big reveal,” explained the studio.
A handful of bench seats and the salon’s front window frames have also been completed in sunshine-yellow, while grey-tone geometric blocks have been used to create a “sculptural” service desk.
This main room also doubles up as a gallery. It’s currently host to an exhibition curated by Jacob called Museum Show, for which the architect approached several creatives to reimagine what a museum could look like.
Contributors include Turner Prize-winning collective Assemble, who has envisioned a scaled-down ceramic toilet as a new cultural destination, and British architect Sean Griffiths, who has produced a series of text-drawings that play with the arrangement of museum names.
“[The exhibition] critically reflects on contemporary museums as idealised spaces to view or ‘consume’ art and draws a parallel with DKUK as a site for cultural production and artistic economies to meet,” added the studio.
The salon will also be used as a training academy that offers hairdressing courses to fledgeling artists who may need extra financial support for their practice.
Sam Jacob Studio, which is based in Islington, was been established in 2014 by Jacob, who was one of the three founders of architecture practice FAT.
Previous projects by the studio include a mausoleum in London’s Highgate Cemetery, which was based on designs by modernist architect Adolf Loos, and a 15 square-metre micro home which explores new methods of urban living.
Museum Show continues at DKUK until 23 June 2019.
Photography is by Jim Stephenson and Max Creasy.