Manifest, a culture-driven lifestyle concept opened its doors this fall in the Adams Morgan neighborhood of Washington, DC. Conceived by K.J. Hughes, along with partners Brian Merritt and Susan Morgan, and designed by visionary design firm, Snarkitecture, the thoughtfully curated, first-of-its-kind space repurposes an array of essentials into a modern self-care moment. Within Manifest, guests will enjoy expert grooming services at the next-gen barbershop, an intimate artisanal coffee shop, cutting-edge retail with international brands and products, a 30-seat destination featuring highly curated cocktails, and a well-appointed bookable residence opening later in the Spring for those seeking an immersive experience with unparalleled Capitol views through the retractable glass roof door.
Anchored by the belief that “everything great starts with a haircut,” the barbershop at Manifest transforms an essential service into an undeniably personalized wellness experience worth anticipating. The boutique barbershop lends itself nicely to the exchange of ideas while experiencing the extraordinary talents of a diverse group of top-tier barbers in town, who will be available to cut all hair types and a variety of styles, whether clients are seeking a fade or simple trim. With curved tile walls and arched openings, the barbershop at Manifest provides members and walk-in guests alike with an elevated, full-service approach to grooming where indulgence is the standard and services can be selected based on the time they have to spare.
“I’ve traveled all over the world and immersed myself in so many cultures and it’s my dream for Manifest to exist to cater to connections and foster the shared experiences that keep us all thriving,” said owner K.J. Hughes. “It’s ambitious, but we want to be the catalyst for clients achieving their best selves. Self-care begins with grooming, but it certainly does not end there.”
The ideals behind Manifest are literally manifested by exceptional designs from award-winning New York-based design firm, Snarkitecture. Breanna Urquhart, an associate at the highly sought-after firm, which is known locally for its large-scale installations at the National Building Museum in Washington, DC, led the project with the intention to create a sense of belonging and discovery for visitors. By employing design elements that encourage guests and members to pause and appreciate the moment throughout their journey at Manifest, the cultural hub serves as a point of discovery, exchange and restoration.
“When we set out to design Manifest, it needed to be a new kind of barbershop, inviting to all people,” said Alex Mustonen, partner at Snarkitecture. “Simultaneously, we wanted to create a sanctuary, a community space, an institution, a one-of-a-kind experience that still feels like home,” “The design unifies the cafe, retail and barbershop space into a singular environment with self-care and wellness front and center.”
Unifying details throughout the space include archways, which are meant to represent the sloughing off of the old and moving into a new phase of life, while linear elements symbolize a sense of community and connection. For example, curving walls that are seen in the barbershop continue up through the secret staircase that leads to the speakeasy. Arched openings repeat upstairs to carve out the intimate lounge and cocktail settings.
The curved walls are dressed in stack tile from Nemo Tile. “For a barbershop, tile offers a durable and hygienic finish,” explained Mustonen. “For the overall space, it also gives the environment a feeling of wellness, similar to a spa.
“In addition to the spa-like quality stated above, the vertical stick tile worked well to create the curvilinear walls, which smooth out the various elements that were previously disrupting the wall surface and space.”
According to Mustonen, the biggest challenge working with the tile was calibrating all dimensions in the space -- from the millwork heights to the door heights -- to fit nicely with the dimensions of the tile. In the end, the design team “really enjoyed working on a project that had several different programs -- barbershop, coffee bar, retail and lounge/bar -- all under one roof,” he said.