Privé opened in 2015 and is the brainchild of David D’Amours, an editorial hairstylist and salon owner who has become known for his work with French-Canadian celebrities such as Celine Dion, Marie-Mai Bouchard and Charlotte Cardin.
“I wanted to incorporate a very Scandinavian and contemporary design to my space,” says D’Amours. “I needed that sense of balance. It’s not very feminine, it’s not masculine. It’s neutral and welcoming.”
With a passion for design, D’Amours spent countless hours planning every detail of his salon. But nothing could prepare him for how much he would have to re-transform his space in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. “I made sure to initially take care of myself and reset,” he says. “But once I did, I knew I needed to start taking care of my baby—my salon. It was my mission for clients to be able to come back relaxed and stress- free because we’d be fully prepared.”
Luckily for D’Amours, his 4,000 square-foot space makes social distancing measures easy to implement, but to ensure that all clients and stylists are safe at all times, he created custom plexiglass walls in between the shampooing stations, along with mobile plexiglass walls that can be moved around the salon on busier days. “I knew I wanted to design them with wheels so we could easily create our own private sections within the salon,” he says. “If one stylist is doing extensions while another is doing a blowdry two metres down, it’s an easy solution.”
In order to not clash with his sleek design, D’Amours opted for a modern and minimalistic look with the use of stainless steel.
Throughout the salon, they’ve set up hand sanitizing stations, but D’Amours felt it was important to also add a sink by the reception area so clients are able to wash their hands.
“With a sink, clients will be able to come in and immediately feel clean and refreshed,” he says.
Lights, Camera, Action
With his editorial experience, D’Amours has a firm understanding of how important proper lighting is when it comes to hair. With that in mind, he made it imperative to install “beauty lights” at every station to ensure the hair looks as beautiful as possible—in the eyes of the client and the stylist.
“I would often see clients who wouldn’t want to look at themselves in the mirror because of how harsh the lights would shine down on them,” he says. “The customer needs to feel that they have good lighting. I think it makes a big difference.” With the increase of social media marketing in salons, D’Amours adds that proper lighting can completely elevate their digital presence.
The two-panel “beauty lights” are also not too harsh and offer the best colour balance by not being overly cool or warm. Colour balance was important to him because stylists need to see the exact tones they’re working with, whether they’re styling or colouring. According to D’Amours, who is also the Canadian editorial director for Kérastase, proper lighting increases the quality of any stylist’s work and these lights are often used by professional makeup artists.
Additionally, D’Amours set up each styling station to have space in the back to safely store styling tools. This feature was also imperative to keep his space slick, clean and hazard-free.
Warm and Welcome
Being based in Old Montreal inspired D’Amours to incorporate more natural and raw elements into the salon’s design, with his choice of colours, natural elements and furnishings.
When he first walked into the space, he noticed the natural stone walls and instantly felt welcomed.
He knew he didn’t want to cover them, but showcase them instead through the use of other nature-inspired touches like wood, cool-toned marble and a neutral colour scheme.
“I wanted to give homage to nature— the space feels very deep and has a lot of charisma, which was very important to me,” he says. “We feel very safe and connected here.”
Comfort was a big style motivator for D’Amours. He even named his salon Privé (private) because his mission was for his customers to walk into his space and almost feel separated from everything else going on—like an oasis. He even incorporated this idea through his design—for example, with the delicate white cage wall between the entrance and styling area. “I wanted to create an illusion of privacy rather than a fully open space,” he says. D’Amours worked with interior design company Blazys Gerard to bring his vision to life and hand-picked most of his furnishings from various retailers, including Quebec- based Element de Base and CB2 in Toronto.
“I wanted it to look very sleek and that’s why it was also important to have these different elements of nature to bring everything together and also add more warmth to balance that modern edge,” he says. “I’m so proud of it. After five years, it’s just getting better and better.”