Joli Salon & Spa, Albany, N.Y.

Welcome to the zen zone.
Posted February 21, 2007

When the Colonie Center Mall in Albany, N.Y., underwent a substantial renovation in 2005, Joli Salon & Spa got a new next-door neighbor. The hair and beauty hot spot, a favorite among mall-goers since the shopping center’s inception 30 years ago, moved across from Macy’s, prompting the salon to take a closer look at its image.

“The move was an opportunity to completely rethink the product offering,” says David Kepron, principal of spg3, the Philadelphia-based firm in charge of the redesign. “With Macy’s next door, the salon needed to upgrade its entire presentation.”

But escaping Macy’s shadow wasn’t the only reason for the makeover. “The new position stood to capture the Macy’s customer as well as increased traffic from the mall,” Kepron says. And capturing that meandering customer meant integrating additional services – which created an additional challenge for the designers.

So the 3000-square-foot store was divided into two zones: a “dark, under-the-forest canopy,” and a “bright, sun-filled clearing,” reflecting both the serene and subdued nature of a spa along with the active and vibrant attitude of a salon.

Each zone stimulates the eye differently. The deep, earthy richness in the retail massage and manicure area and the energizing brightness in the salon space create a visual dichotomy – a forest and a clearing – that provides an inviting, Zen-like atmosphere.


The dark spa zone is visually separated from the rest of the space by large glass panels covered in floral images. Hair styling stations in the bright salon zone feature multiple mirrors that reflect lush tree foliage details on the laminated glass storefront. Lighting in the dark zone is subtle, designed to appear like sunlight filtering through a forest canopy, while recessed accent lighting in the salon zone resembles direct rays, creating a bright and vibrant open space.

Client: Joli Salon & Spa, Albany, N.Y. – Frank Santeniello, owner

Design/Architect: spg3, Philadelphia –David Kepron, principal, retail design; Tony Perri, designer; Joe Montante, architect; Julie Clark, designer; Stephanie Wright, architect; Eugene Slentz, graphic designer

General Contractor: DMC, Schenectady, N.Y.

Outside Design Consultants: Lighting Management Inc., New City, N.Y. (lighting)

Fixtures: Salon Interiors, Hackensack, N.J.

Signage: Dupont SentryGlas Expressions, Columbus, Ohio

Wallcoverings/Materials/Flooring: Architectural Systems Inc., New York

Photography: Matt Wargo, Philadelphia