Award-winning hairdresser creates salon with a purpose

Award-winning hairdresser Greg Murrell shares with Viva the process of creating a salon with a difference.

Greg Murrell. Photo / Babiche Martens
Greg Murrell. Photo / Babiche Martens

When it comes to aesthetics, hairdresser Greg Murrell is passionate and focused - as his new salon at Britomart reveals. He is renowned for his ability to create hair that oozes with understated elegance while also developing fashion-forward looks when working with top designers such as Zambesi, Stolen Girlfriends and Huffer on photo shoots and runway shows.

Over his 28-year career Murrell has won many awards, including being honoured with a Master's Award by the Australian Fellowship of Hairdressers, and he has travelled extensively especially as a member of the global artistic team for Kms California, which saw him work in Australia, the US, Europe and Taiwan. Never one to rest on his laurels, he is always looking for new design challenges and moving his salon, Ryder, to Britomart has, he says, been a wonderful opportunity to express his ideas.

What was your vision behind this new salon?
I had long wanted Ryder to be more connected with the community around us and Britomart seemed an obvious fit.

When we discussed design, we were all clear that we wanted a very clean re-definition of a salon space. We wanted to create something new with the design too, something that was the antithesis of anything too "vintage-y".

Talk us through the process. It was clear that we needed a lot of light in the space and that drove the decision to paint the walls and ceilings white. From there, architects Petr Cvejn and Andrew Greenslade developed their design with the use of elemental materials like wood and metal.

What are the challenges you face?
In our previous salon, in Bowen Ave near the university, we had a lot of space and natural light and also an outlook over a park. Many of our clients loved this, so the challenge was to create a re-definition that would take the feeling of our old location and transpose it to a busy city corner that doesn't have the same abundant natural light. Creating that necessary sense of private space in a very public location was critical.

You have worked before with Petr Cvejn and Andrew Greenslade. Tell us about your relationship with them and what they bring to the project.

Andrew was one of the designers of the original Ryder and Petr did the lighting on that project. Petr and I have been friends for about 20 years and over many a haircut we have discussed how to design a better salon. Petr and Andrew are complementary opposites who share similar aesthetics.

What excites you most about the project?
Getting a new opportunity to re-define what a hair salon could look like. Being able to be involved in designing my own workspace is exciting too.

What is your ultimate goal for the clients' experience?
That it could be more than just a haircut. That our clients can enjoy the experience of being in an interesting salon environment and just relax and let the pressures of life float away for an hour.

Explain your philosophy when it comes to design - albeit architecture or hair.
I enjoy things that are crafted, well-realised and have a design heritage. I love attention to detail and simplicity of form where nothing is extraneous.

New salon, new look ... There's nothing like a new change. When it comes to hair, what is the mood, feel, look that you're recommending to clients?
In times of austerity, people look for small moments of luxury. This translates to hairstyles that have a quiet elegance and are not extravagant. Wave in longer hair is gentler, soft geometry is applied to our shorter haircuts and men's hair has a traditional masculine feel to it. Ultimately our focus is on taking an individual approach, getting people's hair into great condition and giving a cut that looks good without arduous maintenance.

* Ryder Salon is located at Charter House, 56 Customs St East, Britomart, ph (09) 309 9790.

- NZ Herald

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