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Revamped Beauty: Inside Barcelona’s Curly Lab

Curly Lab, Barcelona, ES / Miriam Barrio

Barcelona’s Miriam Barrio Studios has completely revamped the insides of a modernist building to create Curly Lab, a salon dedicated to curly hair that boasts curved shapes and copper-toned surfaces. Situated at the base of a gothic and modernist building designed by Enric Sagnier in 1895, Curly Lab can be found at Diputación in Barcelona‘s Eixample district.

Curly Lab, Barcelona, ES / Miriam Barrio

Miriam Barrio Studios crafted Curly Lab’s 65-square-metre interior to communicate an “organic and natural language”. The space, previously used by a real estate agency, now showcases rich textures that stand out against the backdrop of the surrounding architecture.

Curly Lab, Barcelona, ES / Miriam Barrio

Throughout the salon, a continuous microcement surface was applied to the light-toned floors and terracotta-toned walls, creating a unique setting. This microcement was sourced and produced locally in Barcelona. New additions to the space include curved shapes that shape the design of the salon’s countertops, furniture, and lighting fixtures, establishing pathways and connections between different workstations.

“The organic shapes were a perfect fit because in the modernist era, they represented beauty and were in perfect harmony with the essence of curly hair,” explained designer Miriam Barrio.

Curly Lab, Barcelona, ES / Miriam Barrio

The countertop bases are adorned with polished copper tiles, blending seamlessly with the historical elements that are also on display. Remnants of the previous interior, such as exposed brick walls and a Catalan vault ceiling with original floral paintings, were carefully preserved by the studio.

The renovation process involved a meticulous cleaning of the space, followed by the unification of the ceiling backgrounds with plain colors and the application of a matte and transparent patina.

Curly Lab, Barcelona, ES / Miriam Barrio

The original ceiling drawings served as a significant source of inspiration for the project, as Barrio mentioned. The choice of a warm and deep color derived from the tones of the ceiling was crucial in making it the focal point of the design. This color needed to strike a balance between being neither too feminine nor too masculine, influencing the selection of all materials for the project.

Curly Lab, Barcelona, ES / Miriam Barrio

To enhance the key architectural and design elements of the interior, the lighting was strategically arranged to create a captivating display at night when viewed from outside.

Curly Lab, Barcelona, ES / Miriam Barrio

Barrio emphasized the dual purpose of the lighting in the main space with high ceilings: providing technical lighting for work and decorative lighting to enhance the ambiance and architectural features. The positioning of the lights at mid-height was intended to illuminate the ceilings effectively, while the design of curved track lights aimed to seamlessly integrate with the other elements in the space.

Curly Lab, Barcelona, ES / Miriam Barrio

In addition to lighting fixtures, black metal was predominantly used for various accessories such as oval-shaped mirrors, Color Bar furniture, ceramic lamps, and velvet sofas. Barrio believed that creating a beautiful and welcoming environment in the salon was essential for customers to feel comfortable and inspired.

The ultimate goal was to make visitors feel as though they were in a special sanctuary, a place of holistic care and rejuvenation.

Image courtesy of Salva Lopez