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Mizu Salon Interior Lighting


The Mizu Salon in Boston is setting a new standard for luxury hair care. As the lighting consultant on this complex interior design, WSP USA used 3D visualization to ensure a balance of diffuse and direct illumination falling on customers seeking flattering and precise styling. The lighting system enhances an assemblage of glass fiber reinforced gypsum curved panels that form the interior spaces. The challenge with this unique space wasn’t only the development of a obscured lighting system, but also the complexity of the curved walls and ceilings. Also, all finishes in the space were to be white, including floors, walls, ceiling, chairs, sinks, and workstations. Because of all these conditions, the model was developed to see how the lighting would affect hair stylists and customers.

The architecture of Mizu is conceived as a series of vaults in two directions to define functional areas and create transparency. The resulting forms partly screen the clients from pedestrian mall traffic while attracting potential customers with fleeting views of styling activity and the unique interior. Light emanates from openings where the shapes intersect and part. In the main styling space, diffuse efficient fluorescent lighting emphasizes the continuous smooth white surfaces of the vaults and floor while softly lighting clients’ faces and hair.

The openings in the gypsum shapes hold acrylic diffusing material. Behind the mirrors compact fluorescent strips fit in the narrow space between the acrylic sheet and the wall. With the mirror centered, light can reach all around a client’s face for even illumination, without shadows. Detailed electronic modeling helped the designers and owners visualize and adjust the balance of ambient, accent, and task lighting. Also, low voltage, low wattage adjustable spots accent hair for cutting and styling without creating glare. Linear fluorescent strips supply this ambient illumination. Components can also be switched separately to adapt to varying conditions and events.

This project received the 2010 Illuminating Engineering Society Award of Excellence.