Paloma wins 2017 AIA Houston Design Award 


We're excited to announce that Paloma Nail Salon was awarded a 2017 AIA Houston Design Award for Interior Architecture. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) Houston Design Awards recognize works that exemplify excellence in Architectural Design. This year's jury included Betsy Williamson (Williamson Williamson) and Catherine Bird (Deborah Berke Partners)

Paloma was completed in 2016. The inspiration for the non-toxic nail salon was a response to the client's slogan "Escape to Beautiful". We were given the exciting opportunity to engage in developing a brand identity for this flagship store. Natural, non-toxic materials and textures combine with refined accents to create an atmosphere that prioritizes both a healthy escape and a luxurious experience. The details of the project are choreographed to render the hygienic components invisible and re-envision the salon as a retreat. This begins at the storefront, where signage is engineered to conceal the robust venting requirements imposed on nail salons. Instead, focus is directed to a floating bench that pulls from interior to exterior and inlaid entry tile with text clearly staging the intention of the brand.

Once inside, the reception and waiting area is designed to capture light and maintain connection to the vibrant shopping center.  Custom steel shelves with polishes minimally displayed for customer selection are the only indication of activities occurring beyond. A delicate, brass and wood dowel veil stages the physical transition for the retreat, separating the entry and reception from the manicure and pedicure stations. Passing under the veil, the light dims and the colors warm to stage a new scene, revealing only glimpses of the outside world. The traditional salon booths and floor sinks are replaced by beautiful and comfortable chairs on raised wood platforms. The platform provides the ergonomic offset between technician and customer while celebrating the individual. 

Paloma is organized around a central circulatory lane that draws customers in from the front of house back towards the workstations and separates one long communal platform from individually paired stations. Varying platform configurations provides unique orientations to focal points within the room while also offering conversational opportunities at facing chairs. Hidden platform storage, a minimal material palette, and custom, non-toxic furniture enforce escape from the busy urban life beyond.


Thanks to Paloma Founder Maryam Naderi for trusting us to create an architectural solution for her amazing brand, the great team at Dunhill Development and Construction, Gandy² Lighting Design - G2LD, and Pete Molick and Benjamin Hill Photography for making us look good.

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