Due to the failure of the education reform and the impact of global human resources, there has been a serious shortage of professional manpower supply in Taiwan that gradually affects its economic structure. Thus, to re-establish a vocational training that complements the existing education system becomes substantial. However, to increase innovative thinking within vocational training also turns into a new issue especially in service economy age. In addition, the social phenomena like re-employment, lifelong learning, life taste also redefine the content of vocational education. Reflecting the social changes, H Academy organizes a series of programs including hairdressing, nail art, makeup etc. that combines fashion, style, art into one salon by providing in-service training, multiple learning to realize art practice in life.
H Academy primarily offers hairdressing courses including hair cutting, dyeing, perming etc. and make-up, nail art additionally. The plan focuses on the teaching process and how the program functions. The teaching consists of academic and practical learning. More complicated activities would be performed in practical learning, so there is only one classroom for academic and two for practical. The hairdressing procedure usually separates into two categories, the primary that takes longer duration and the minor that lasts only temporarily, such as the differences between hair cutting and washing. Thus, space for minor procedure could be shared between two practical classrooms and in turn forms a cycle to each practical classroom. In such specialized relationship of sharing, a lab box that includes washing and perming is embedded between these two classrooms. Eventually, there exists an individual lab box within the interior and becomes "a box within a box" as a layered space.
Entering the lobby, visitors could easily locate service counter nearby for general information enquiries. Next to the lobby is a long corridor lounge where people can meet or share ideas. The prior mentioned lab box sits next to the lounge. Visitors could occasionally see lab performances in real time through the dark grey glass. All spaces that surround the lab box are connected continuously as a cycle without any dead end. The academic classroom could be entered from the lobby. The practical classroom could be accessed either from the lobby or through the lab box. Flexible partition walls are adopted between each classroom. In such a way, space of different size could be transformed according to activity requirements. All salon chairs and stations are moveable and could be kept in storage. Eventually, A fashion hairdressing show could be held when all the partition wall pulled back and three classrooms converted into one big space.
"A box within a box" is the main concept that has related to manifold meanings. First, from an educational viewpoint, it is a skill-oriented school that it is better doing rather than sitting listening. To emphasize this characteristic, the washing and dyeing procedures are deliberately exhibited to the public as an education interface. Second, on a branding level, the box space is framed with black metal and grey glass to create an atmosphere of being low-key and mysterious. Together with illuminated by projected lights, hairdressing is virtually compared to chic boutique goods. Third, on a spatial level, to be more easily sensed as a stage, the lab box is designed with a lifted floor and a dark grey wire-net ceiling for height variation. Due to privacy protection, curtains would be temporarily lowered down along the procedure until timing is right. By doing this, It is also a symbol of a stage as if it were changing a scene.
Among homogeneous furniture, there exist two exception spots where specialized furniture is designed. One is the bar area next to the service counter. It could be a focal point when visitors entering the lobby. The other is the counter in the hair color cream lab, the so-called lab box, where its diamond shape creates a window shopping alike effect to the visitors. The whole ceiling is open without being encased. The only trick applied is the original concrete finish reserved for ducts and piping area above certain height and other materials, color paints underneath that height. Lighting, as an element to represent an invisible ceiling, is hung angled from top at a specific height referred as a space boundary that guides the spatial hierarchy and its contained activities.
To sum up, this project is a teaching space based on working procedure, part of which is treated as a performance stage that brands its unique identity. Activities are flexible and reorganized from time to time according to necessary programs that enrich space multiplicity. Being minimal and sophisticated at the same time, the space precisely resonates the fashion frontline of hairdressing.