Award-winning Design Studio Graven Images recently designed Ruffians, a slick new Barber's Shop in Edinburgh. It is a new concept in hairdressing for men, offering a relaxed and stylish environment that's neither girly nor grubby.
Founder and retail expert Andrew Cannon came up with the idea of Ruffians when he spotted a gap in the market - most barbers are either located within salons that are too feminine in style, or grubby looking back shops. He wanted to make a trip to the barber's an enjoyable experience, rather than a chore, so he decided to launch a new grooming concept exclusively for men. Ruffians opened in March 2012, in a vibrant part of Edinburgh, and is already proving to be a huge success.
"I'm not a hairdresser, so I approached the whole concept from a customer's point of view," explained Andrew. "I had a clear picture in my head as to what I wanted Ruffians to look and feel like, but I needed someone to translate my vision - Graven Images not only got what I was after, but also perfectly understood the customers' needs."
Graven Images' design approach for Ruffians is masculine yet refined. The materials are simple but the quality still adds a sense of honest luxury. The design is meant to complement the relaxed, playful atmosphere, which starts from the moment a customer enters the shop. Ruffians doesn't have a reception; instead customers perch on specially designed "iPad High Tables", where they can enjoy a (Ruffians designed) cup of coffee and catch up on Twitter and emails while they wait.
The shaving area is engineered and functional, with tiled floors and industrial light fittings, which can be pulled out for closer inspection. The geometric patterns work with the overall feel of the space, keeping it classic and masculine. The traditional barber chairs by Takara Belmont, in a special Ruffian's blue, are a visual highlight; the vivid blue contrasts beautifully with the darker tones and rough timber used throughout the shop.
The main cutting area is painted in grey and features warm timber panelling. A solid oak cutting table, in the style of a craftsman's workbench, provides the focal point. Contrary to traditional salons, chairs don't face the wall but each other, creating a convivial, friendly atmosphere. Mirrors are hidden within the central table - they pop up to reveal leather lined bureaus that neatly store grooming products and accessories. In order to keep the space tidy, Graven Images incorporated a central vacuum cleaning system built into the side to suck up hair and debris straight away, without any fuss.
Andrew Cannon plans to roll Ruffians out nationwide, and possibly even abroad. A second shop is already in the pipeline for late 2012, and Andrew also wants to further develop his in-house designed grooming products range.
"Grooming is a serious business, but I hope that Ruffians makes customers smile a bit, and I hope they come back whenever they have an important meeting to go to, or just want to feel good and experience great service, in a gentlemanly sort of a way," commented Martin Cotter, Graven Images' designer. "It's a lovely project for a great client. We had a lot of fun making it happen."