The salon industry is a messy business. According to salon product company Simply Organic Beauty, salons in North America produce 421,206 pounds of waste — equal to about 150 million pounds of trash. So, when the founders of Novak Hair Studios, Justin Hudgins and Benjamin Novak Hudgins, looked to open in the Pinnacle Bank Place building on West Lancaster Avenue, they had a goal: Build a salon that cut down on waste without compromising design.
And they did it, opening a 10,000-square-foot space in March with sustainable elements left and right, all contributing to a reduction of waste by more than 95 percent. Their efforts earned them a Green Circle Salon Certification, along with plenty of other nods from locals about the space’s design.
“We wanted it to have sophistication but still also have a youthfulness,” Ben says. “Luxury is a key component to the experience that we’re providing, so the first thing that came to our mind was luxury, but how do you make luxury not stale?”
Novak’s space mixes industrial with modern, clean lines to stay true to the rest of the building’s vibe. Elements like exposed ventilation and concrete pillars juxtapose with luxurious dark leathers and rich woods (with the exception of the floor, which is actually wood-look tile, since hair color is difficult to clean off real wood). There’s also color — namely, shocking greens, oranges and blues.
“Anybody who’s trying to have eco practices, you think of a lot of raw woods, manila, earthy,” Ben says. “What we wanted to do is take away that ‘boring’ aspect and create some energy.”
Nearly every design element has a sustainable purpose, including the plants, like peace lilies and aloe, chosen for their ability to soak up toxins like ammonia found in hair color. The air-conditioning system, too, purifies 100 percent of the contaminated air while also pumping out scents of cucumber, mint and melon to give the salon a distinctly fresh atmosphere not polluted by the musty odor of hair products.
“Sustainability for us means more than just the sustainability of the planet; it means sustainability for the life of the hairdresser,” Ben says. “The way we can control that is by creating a system that will actually pull all of that carcinogenic air out of the salon and pump fresh, clean air into the salon.”
The salon’s layout features 41 studio spaces and 10 open spaces that center around the waiting area, which Ben describes as a “watering hole” due to its circular design. Everything in this space has a curved shape, from the wooden benches to the front desk. The light fixture above is a collection of LED bulbs, some in the shape of a beehive as an homage to Ben’s grandfather, an avid supporter of bee preservation. Novak donates a percentage of its profits to The Honeybee Conservancy.
Novak is a lease-style salon, so artists may style their room however they’d like. Each space is thoughtfully designed, some artists opting for brick walls and neon signs or neutral tones with brass accents. Nearby shampoo stations feature chairs built to accommodate all body types, bowl sinks that adjust for comfort and water fixtures designed to reduce water waste by 70 percent. And, adding a rustic touch are the letters W-A-S-H, gathered from various vintage shops.
Similar signage spelling “LOUNGE” is also found in the upstairs — well, lounge — that offers a view over the entire salon. The space evokes a somewhat vintage vibe with midcentury modern furniture and retro-style hair dryers. There’s also a party element, with color-changing lights and a disco ball from a former salon.
Throughout Novak are more straightforward eco-friendly elements, like recycling centers with dedicated bins for different types of waste. Novak’s sense of purpose, Ben says, is a testament to what small business in Fort Worth is all about.
“When everything is designed with a purpose, you’re not just doing things for thing’s sake,” Ben says. “You’re doing something bigger than yourself.”