Mooloolaba on the Sunshine Coast has stepped up to a supreme stature, with a space that towers over even some of the biggest city salons. The All Space is a completely custom built creative home where you’ll get lost in the design detail at every turn, writes Cameron Pine.
You’re forgiven for wondering what The All Space really actually is. Is it a salon or is a creative community? Is it a content space, a Hair and Beauty space or an education space? One thing is certain, and that’s the venues unique blend of industrial concrete, white and stone with the softness of life’s simple handmade pleasures that make it truly special. Once you take a step inside this artisan inspired venue you’ll understand why it’s well personified by its name, The All Space, and the true reasons why owners Sara and Dan Briscoe have gone all in.
Spanning an iconic corner block, it’s not often we see a brand new custom built salon from the ground up of this scale – and the long journey to now has been one of immense discovery and dedication to being the best they can be. Housing the Roca Verde salon team and the Original Face beauty team, the All Space is the result of a growing collective of like-minded creatives.
Since Roca Verde first opened their salon in 2007 with just 50 square metres and one apprentice, Sara has always been about putting the soul into hairdressing and lifting the general profile of salons on the Sunshine Coast.
“Pre COVID in 2019 we started to look for a new space to buy. I was getting itchy feet and needed a project. Simply we were running out of space but I always wanted to create something with a true handmade feel. We looked all over the Sunshine Coast, from Moffat Beach all the way up the coast with a very distinct idea of what we wanted to create, it made it even more challenging,” said Sara.
“It was difficult because of council regulations. You can’t just throw a salon up in an industrial area – we are limited on the Sunshine Coast which makes it hard to create something as unique as this,” she said.
Once the search was complete Sara and Dan still had to advertise for six months and spend 40 thousand dollars for registering a ‘change of usage’.
“It’s so hard to get an industrial space and you run a real risk of buying a property and being stuck with a debt and not being able to do what you want with it – that was our first and biggest challenge we had to overcome,” she said.
Success was finally reached right at the beginning of COVID when they found a pack of low rise shops that were on a month by month lease.
“Prior to this in early 2020 we cooled it a bit just because we couldn’t find anything. COVID hit and we thought it was going to be around a long time, so we really had to move and make more space,” Sara said. “We didn’t want to just to operate with social distancing, we wanted to thrive in a completely customised space. We are still going with our yet to be determined mezzanine level that we are working on approvals for now. For me it was important to have actual space and I’m so fortunate my husband is a builder because I’m definitely that fussy client.”
Without delving inside it’s hard to appreciate the detail that’s gone into the level of finish and overall attention to the aesthetic at every corner. Once inside you really appreciate the materials and finishes chosen to house the 13 plus salon staff to ensure it feels as though the staff and clients are on not on top of each other. In fact, clients bring their dogs and friends and can all hang out in the space without being crammed in – it definitely doesn’t feel like a typical salon visit.
The entire space has been set up for growth beyond the traditional limitations of a hair salon. Ample natural light for filming content, as well as spaces to retreat to, are aided by the 26 skylights in the ceiling from Velux adding in both light and fresh air of unparalleled proportions. Seeing the natural light in the salon in the mornings reflects its full impact, showcasing the maximised northern sun and light with completely drenched and saturated spaces.
As the owner and builders of the space, Sara refers to the salon (‘Roca Verde’) as being the tenants of her dream space and the overall venue feeling like an exchange between zones and areas to unwind, rather than just to be in and out for a salon service.
“I always wanted space – I wanted it to be sustainable and I wanted my own stand-alone building where we weren’t restricted with what we could do. I have always loved the New York loft. I looked at lots of photography studios in lofts,” Sara said.
Sara wanted as many raw natural textures as she possibly could find and all of the design elements bring to life a building that is eminently suited to creativity. Absolute attention to architectural detail was required so that almost everything is perfectly concealed and discretely placed, aiding the feeling of space but without the starkness often associated with a warehouse feel.
Another element that was highly crucial for Sara was ceiling height. Double story towering ceiling lines throughout almost the entire space ensure you don’t at all feel like you are restricted in any way.
The floors are hand crafted concrete, which Sara actually helped work on and layer in herself. Sara also tried to ensure the All Space heralded the original artist, designer or technique that makes a space feel authentic and what drives better and more functional design. For example, around the basin area they’ve used hand-crafted Sara Ellison natural clay tiles, screened off to the side by an Art Deco designer besser brick style wall from Zini’s, Maletti basins and chairs, with some Comfortel and custom render mirrors. These render mirror frames were made with recycled components from the old knock-down – speaking to Sara’s completely environmental focus from day one in her career as a salon owner. There’s even reconditioned stone basins in front of the wet area that came from Gumtree and prove that a mix of finishes is advantageous in such a large build.
Future Render did the venetian style plastering and the sinks are from Nood, chosen for their raw hand-crafted look, with additional work from Gold Coast based company Micro cement. Custom designed concrete tables and the coffee tables at the entrance, by Texture Co, sit alongside a Noguchi chair, while the bar and benches were a collaboration between Future Render and Complete Render. From lighting that runs off an entire roof covered in solar panels, right down to the taps and door handles used, hand-made was how Sara wanted to personify the new home of her salon brand.
Sara’s husband Dan builds well known mega-mansions on the Sunshine Coast under the name Briscoe Homes and has a longstanding reputation for quality, but this project being his first foray into the commercial sphere proved challenging, especially with such a smorgasbord of must-haves by design savvy Sara. .
“Dan would say everything about this space was difficult, not just because I want what I want but also the different laws and rules and parameters to deal with. Even though we have been able to do whatever we want by developing a site, everything I chose was hard,” Sara said.
“None of this was cheap but luckily having a husband as a builder, Dan has a great building reputation so people wanted to collaborate with us all the way through the project,” Sarah said.
Budgeting around half a million for the build alone, the duo no doubt went over but the return on investment of owning the land and space is intrinsically worthwhile to their long-term goal for their salon brand and their values.
The beams, the curved walls, the retro glassware chosen that comes to each client’s station with a crystal next to their favourite drink – everything has been used as a design feature and brand story.
Mayde teas, Kombucha, a beer fridge, champagne and both a naughty and nice menu – the All Space covers it all. With perfectly chosen brand partners of Redken, KEVIN.MURPHY, Olaplex, Evo Pro and De Lorenzo, Sara continues to grow with and ensures the vibe suits the salon’s tribe.
The couple also hope to use it as a training and hosting space for events and want to collaborate with photographers. The curves, wall textures and light really make it appealing to the photographer in all of us.
It’s hard to believe the All Space it is largely made up of a 20 work station salon. Choose to stay for an hour or all day, it’s a space that you will certainly be all over and all in.