What hair salon is really unique anymore? Sure, some have rounded tables while some have wheeled carts; some have wall leaning mirrors while others don’t; some use Moroccan Oil products while others use Matrix products. Potato, poh-tah-toh, right? Wrong. While it certainly does take something different to be, well, different these days, we’ve found a salon well suited to the challenge. Architeqt Salon!
The reason this salon is different is because it is not just a salon. It is a beauty stop, a school of sorts and an art gallery. You get a fuller experience at this salon than any other with even the simplest of blow outs because there is simply more to experience. That uniqueness is what founders Alexey Kats and Pawel Jan had in mind when they founded Architeqt Salon in October 2012. “I’ve wanted a mixed use space for a long time, and when Pawel and I talking about going into business, he liked the idea of a space where we can host educational workshops, pop-up shops, gallery openings while being able to function as a salon,” explained Kats.
Salon as Gallery
While you’re getting your hair taken care of, you also get a feast for the eyes. The layout of Architeqt Salon is that of an art gallery – it’s walls littered with beautiful pieces of art. The ambiance and artwork of the salon are more than enough reason to finally put that magazine down and just soak up the experience. And, the artwork is not just “décor.” When we say Architeqt Salon is both a beauty machine and an art gallery – we mean they legitimately wear both hats. In addition to featuring artists and rotating these collections for the viewership of their salon-goers, guests are invited to a bi-monthly gallery open house. At these events, artists, musicians, hairdressers and clients all come together to socialize as they enjoy wine, cheese and live music. And, just because you’ve been to one event does not mean you’ve been to them al! Different artists are featured in different seasons, so there is always something to come back and see. Kats believes in setting up a certain type of atmosphere according to the seasons, “I choose the artists based on the feeling I want in the salon for the season. Whether it is deep figurative art during the winter or light colored collages for spring, I try to achieve a certain atmosphere in the space.”
Salon as Salon
Now, the place is magnificent and a truly different aesthetic from anything else available to us Philadelphians. But, we don’t want you thinking that all of the glitz and glam detracts from the actual service and care you receive at Architeqt Salon. We know this from first hand experience because, naturally, we booked a cut and color as soon as we could (all in a day’s work, right guys). Even before arriving at the salon, you get the impression that they want to accommodate you. When we called for our appointment, we were told that the salon had not a single opening for three days. That was only true for a second though, because before we even got a chance to express any sadness, the receptionist found us a spot for the very next day. Ah, customer service, this is where you’ve been hiding!
We came the next day and, let me paint you a picture: it really is beautiful, somehow new and old at the same time. There is this exposed brick against a new door and ceilings,
custom made by a local Philadelphia architect, and art on the walls. It’s so nice to just sit and look at that you almost get a little sad when you realize that there isn’t a long wait and it’s time for your appointment. But, that sadness goes away the instant the appointment starts because then they make you feel like the Queen of England and look gorgeous.
This isn’t one of those salons where you get assigned a “stylist” but then are manhandled by a team of assistants while the stylist just comes to check in and finish up. This is a full service kind of establishment. And you feel the professionalism from the get go. The staff is highly trained, working both in the salon and as beauty educators outside of it. Kats explains, “I have my own venture Fountainhead Beauty where I educate hairdressers on dry cutting. Jennifer is a color and styling educator for L’oreal Professionnel, Brittiany is an extension specialist and educator.” Basically, you know you’re in good hands.
And we were! After being offered the whole spread of wine, water, tea, coffee, etc, we were taken to get our hair washed. But, it wasn’t just a wash. It was a long, massage filled scalp session that leaves you completely relaxed before you even get into the styling chair. Haley Kepner, in charge of that heavenly experience truly is, as Kats describes her, an expert “chef in the kitchen.” Then we were off to get a cut and color.
The best thing to field in a stylist’s chair is that they know what they’re doing – that they get what you want, what your hair needs and that they don’t just do the same thing for everyone. Well fear not, Alexey Kats is the hair whisperer. He takes your hair’s health condition, stress damage and texture into consideration before even getting to style or cut (which he knows just as well). He customizes the techniques he uses to you and the results, naturally, are better than anywhere else. We walked away with a flowy, layered bob and a gorgeous, shiny new coat of brown hair (and by brown we mean yummy, Hershey chocolate brown— perfection!). It’s a shame that the salon did such an amazing job, because now we have no excuse to come again tomorrow!
Salon as School
Kats and his staff all believe in exporting the beauty they know to the world. Not only are they trained, but they train themselves – holding onsite workshops and offsite beauty classes aimed at teaching people to create beauty – styling tips and tricks, information about how to care for your hair, etc. But what about giving away all his secrets? Isn’t Kats worried, we asked. “No,” he confidently replies. As he explains it to us, as he teaches others he learns more and more himself. And, because always be so much more passionate, he’ll always do it better. That, he certainly does!