At a Glance
Santa Monica, CA, and Dallas
Design and construction of salons and cosmetology schools
Toni & Guy’s new cosmetology school in Costa Mesa, California, is a perfect example of the brand’s clean, modern aesthetic. All-white surfacing and glass partitions give the space a vast, open feel, so its various staging areas end up looking less like teaching facilities and more like fully realized boutiques—a strategic design choice. “People don’t join a Toni & Guy academy to sit behind a desk, so we give students a salon-like experience in the classroom,” president Kenny Gibson says. “Whether it’s a 1,300-square-foot salon or a 14,000-square-foot academy, the concept is the same.”
Toni & Guy currently has 42 salons and 26 academies in the United States, and maintaining the brand’s stylish yet calculated look company-wide falls largely to Massimo Pizzoleo, the company’s industrial designer.
“I approach each project with a focus on the way people interact in the space,” he says, and his careful choices regarding room orientation, equipment placement, and utility installation have helped make Toni & Guy’s schools and boutiques more social and adaptable.
Where Toni & Guy’s design prototype truly stands apart is in its layout. Each location is largely composed of open spaces, which are divided by glass instead of drywall because Gibson wants all rooms to be visible from every other room, creating a much more open space for the stylists and clients. He says this gives occupants the sensation of being a part of the group rather than apart from the group. Pizzoleo adds that this idea is particularly important for academy design. “We like translucence because we want to make students socially stronger, which builds their self confidence and helps them make good choices in life,” he explains.
Top 3 Pieces of Salon Equipment by Massimo Pizzoleo
1. The Gigli & Massimo Italy workstation is built on lockable casters, and it consists of a front-and-back mirror with a collapsible shelf and a power cord.
2. The Gigli & Massimo Italy trolley is made for the secure storage of expensive salon equipment. It’s made of chrome, not plastic; it’s built on casters; and it includes three drawers, with access below for storage of a mannequin.
3. The Gigli & Massimo Italy styling chair has “a beautiful design” that Massimo says ties in with the aesthetics of the salon.
Even traditionally hidden areas are out in the open, an extension of the brand’s embrace of modern style. For instance, typically, shampoo bowls are hidden from the rest of a salon because of their awkward shape, but Pizzoleo designed his to be right in the middle. “The shampoo bowls float in the center of the room so people can walk around them,” Gibson says. “At the same time, there are curtained glass panels in front of them, which gives us the choice of integrating the shampoo bowls or tucking them away.”
In further keeping with the idea of maneuverability, all equipment in the salons and academies is mobile so that a layout can be changed quickly in the event of crowding or remodeling. To accommodate this, Pizzoleo puts electrical wiring throughout each facility, and he designs the plumbing to come directly from the floor. He designs all the salon equipment himself because he wasn’t able to meet his design vision with products available on the market. It’s manufactured by Gigli & Massimo in Italy. “[All this] is from making a mistake that many salons and academies make: underestimating their needs,” Gibson says.
The end result of these efforts, for salons and academies alike, is an open and interactive atmosphere that Pizzoleo describes with one word: sexy. It’s a bold design choice for a company that has been around since 1966, but it’s one that makes sense, particularly given the business’s recent franchising boom.
Currently, 20 of Toni & Guy’s 26 academies are franchises, and it will start franchising salons in 2013, and many potential investors are interested because of the brand’s modern look. “We’ve franchised cautiously thus far, but we’re going to become more aggressive and are looking for new partners,” Gibson says. “We want to share or brand with others across the country.” ABQ