Home #Hwoodtimes FGP Atelier Creates the Salon of the Future 

FGP Atelier Creates the Salon of the Future 

Revolutionizing the Traditional Salon and Retail Experience through Design + Smart Technology in LA
Photograph:Rafael Gamo.

(Los Angeles, Summer 2019) Francisco Gonzalez Pulido, head of Chicago-based architecture firm FGP Atelier, creates the salon of the future by challenging and reshaping the entire idea behind the traditional salon. Through the integration of smart home technology into the fabric of the design, Gonzalez Pulido realized a new type of retail environment and customer experience. Located on 211 1⁄2 South La Brea, in Los Angeles, STARRING by Ted Gibson is the industry’s first ‘smart salon.’

STARRING is the culmination of a creative vision to provide consumers with an innovative, multidimensional smart salon concept, premium product line, and an unprecedented luxury experience all in one. The idea behind the salon’s design is to reinvent a largely outdated hair and salon industry, and put forth a new way of thinking about what is next for retail.


“With STARRING, the mission was to create a state-of-the-art salon that merged cutting-edge technology with an unrivaled client experience,” explains Gonzalez Pulido. “The idea was to reinvent and reimagine the salon of the future before the industry even caught on that it was behind.”

Gonzalez Pulido established a transformative salon experience, integrating Alexa-enabled technology into the design through the following:

Rethinking and Personalizing the Style Stations

To begin, Gonzalez Pulido took the 1,100-square-foot, open-plan, technology-powered salon, and designed five individual pods, purposely choosing to forgo the traditional stylist chairs. Each whimsical, cloud-like pod’s design is inspired by the notion of voluminous hair blowing in the wind, yet also serves to create an intensely private, user-centric experience for the client. LED lighting is carefully layered into the undulating waves of each pod, allowing the user or stylist to view the hair color or style in various ambient lighting options like “Everyday Sunshine,” “Moonlight,” and “Indoors.”

Additionally, each pod incorporates smart home speakers for personalized entertainment programming, music options, and includes an Amazon Fire HD 10 tablet featuring various entertainment options.

Reimagining the Reception Area 

Gonzalez Pulido chose a black-and-white palette for the design of the interior to serve as a sort of gallery-like stage for the stylists’ work. In lieu of a reception desk, the salon itself is voice-activated through Amazon Alexa while an elegant entertainment lounge welcomes guests to relax in style.


Reinventing the Retail Experience 

The salon offers an unprecedented retail experience and is entirely cashless. To highlight the clients’ approach to STARRING and their rejection of the traditional retail experience, Gonzalez Pulido designed interactive window displays to take the place of the traditional product-laden shelves. Customers can simply scan SmileCodes using the Amazon App on their mobile device, and all purchased items are delivered direct to each customer’s doorstep, with the convenient option of auto-renewal subscriptions as well. The exterior glass facade of the salon itself essentially serves as a giant barcode—allowing passersby to also scan and buy the products without stepping foot into the shop. Every aspect of the salon was thoughtfully addressed to cater to a futurist mindset, yielding a radically different experience perfect for today’s necessary instagrammable moments.


This innovative concept conceived by Gonzalez Pulido and his clients’ serves as an archetype for future salons and businesses—advocating for intimate, personalized experiences that incorporate technology in a manner that promotes wellbeing, adds convenience, and takes the pressure off the art of the sale.

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About Francisco Gonzalez Pulido
Francisco Gonzalez Pulido is a Chicago-based architect with large-scale projects around the globe. He is the founder and principal of FGP Atelier, an emerging global practice with a rich and diverse cross section of projects and clients. His focus is on designing buildings across a range of scales and typologies that contribute to social and economic advancement through the alignment of design, science, and technology. Drawing upon nearly 30 years of experience across three periods of practice from leading his own studio in Mexico City (1993-98); collaborating with Helmut Jahn and subsequently becoming Partner and President of JAHN (1999-2017); to now founding and leading FGP Atelier. For more information please access FGP Bio + Headshot.
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Valerie Milano is the well-connected Senior Editor and Entertainment Critic at, a website that aggregates showbiz news curated for, and written by, insiders of the entertainment industry. (@HwoodTimes @TheHollywood.Times) Milano, whose extraordinary talents for networking in the famously tight-clad enclave of Hollywood have placed her at the center of the industry’s top red carpets and events since 1984, heads daily operations of a uniquely accessible, yet carefully targeted publication. For years, Milano sat on the board and tour coordinator of the Television Critics Association’s press tours. She has written for Communications Daily, Discover Hollywood, Hollywood Today, Television International, and Video Age International, and contributed to countless other magazines and digests. Valerie works closely with the Human Rights Campaign as a distinguished Fed Club Council Member. She also works with GLSEN, GLAAD, Outfest, NCLR, LAMBDA Legal, and DAP Health, in addition to donating both time and finances to high-profile nonprofits. She has been a member of the Los Angeles Press Club for a couple of years and looks forward to the possibility of contributing to the future success of its endeavors. Milano’s passion for meeting people extends from Los Feliz to her favorite getaway, Palm Springs. There, she is a member of the Palm Springs Museum of Art and a prominent Old Las Palmas-area patron.