Indian slate dresses up Manhattan salon

August 4, 2004
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The challenge posed to architect Chris Kofitsas and his team at New World Design Building in Clifton, NJ, was to convert an abandoned Manhattan townhouse into a new chic salon for renowned hairstylist Mark Garrison. The goal for the space was to create a vibrant and crisp atmosphere that was also welcoming and relaxing to patrons. In meeting these objectives, the architect was certain that an Indian slate was the most effective material for the floor in the reception area.

“The building had been vacant for more than five years, and was last used as a restaurant,” said Kofitsas. “The entire building was in disrepair and required an entire gut job. Nothing could be salvaged except the bulk requirements.”

Located just off Park Avenue in Midtown Manhattan, the five-story structure was entirely renovated and refurbished. “Our client expressed that he wanted a salon that was pure, simple and elegant and had a look of cleanliness,” said the architect. “He also requested that the space be filled with natural light, and that it would be airy and easily maintainable.”

Contributing to the modern yet tranquil feel of the salon was Green Gold slate from India, which was supplied and installed by Wm. Erath & Son Inc. of Copiague, NY. The slate floor in the reception entry was complemented by other architectural details throughout the salon, such as silver leafing, stainless steel floors and cherry wood and fabric wrapped ceilings.

“We wanted to use a natural material to keep with the pure, simple design our client strived for, and we decided on the Green Gold slate because of its beauty and simplicity,” explained Kofitsas. “While selecting slate for another project, we saw this slate and knew it was the material for the Mark Garrison project. Its beauty and color kept with the color scheme.”

The search for the slate was not a simple process, according to the architect. “Finding the perfect natural slate to go with our monotone color scheme was the biggest challenge,” he said. “We did not want to go with something totally black, and we wanted to use a natural material -- especially for the entrance of the space. It could not be a slick material, and we also wanted a small amount of variation. This was the perfect stone for us.”

Approximately 1,100 square feet of the material was employed for the floors of the entry, restroom and dressing rooms. The tiles were initially 12 x 12 inches, but they were cut into a customized multi-pattern with pieces measuring 2 x 4, 3 x 4, 4 x 4, 4 x 5, 4 x 5 and 4 x 8 inches. In the restroom, however, standard 12- x 12-inch tiles were employed, complemented by an iridescent glass mosaic tile wall.

“The architect came up with the pattern, and we cut what he drew,” said Jeff Erath of William Erath & Son Inc. “The challenge was cutting and installing it [precisely], because it was not a typical random three-sized pattern.”

According to Erath, it took about a week to cut all the tiles at the shop and then another three weeks to install the tiles on site. Laticrete® 317 Floor n Wall Thin-Set Mortar was used to install the random-sized pieces over a mud bed.

The 6,700-square-foot salon includes 44 stations and five floors -- two for styling, two for coloring and one for waxing and office administration. In total, it took eight months to complete the entire project. “Great things have been said about the space and its design,” said Kofitsas. “We are very proud of the project.”

End box

Mark Garrison Salon
New York, NY

Architect/Builder: New World Design Builders, Clifton, NJ
Stone Supplier/Installer: Wm. Erath & Son Inc., Copiague, NY
Installation Products: Laticrete[r] International, Bethany, CT.

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