By  on February 25, 2005

NEW YORK — More than six years after leaving Bumble and bumble to open a salon on 57th Street, salon owner Rodney Cutler is heading downtown.

Cutler, owner of the eponymous East Side salon, will formally open a second outpost in SoHo in mid-March. The space had a soft opening last week.

While the West Broadway and East 57th Street salons are similar in size — each are about 3,200 square feet, and each was developed in cooperation with Manhattan design firm Messana O’Rorke — the SoHo space has several key differences.

Uptown, color and haircutting areas are at opposite ends of the salon and are separated by a staircase; in SoHo, the two services share 28 stations on one main floor. Each of the stations — which span both sides of a spring green, glass and chrome table unit — features a mini flat-screen TV, which broadcasts fashion, beauty and travel information. The units — powered with touch-screen features developed by I-Vu, a British technology firm — also allow customers to easily get more detailed information on what they see. Two large flat-screen TVs broadcasting similar content are mounted in each of the salon’s large picture windows facing West Broadway, and Cutler also is developing content for the TVs, highlighting his team’s fashion show and editorial involvement.

Cutler’s new salon also introduces a hair color concept developed by L’Oréal division Redken New York. Intended to bring what is traditionally a backroom process front and center — and educate consumers in the process — the Redken Lab is a freestanding, custom-built unit that features an interactive consultation center, hair color swatches spanning the shade spectrum, and Redken color-maintaining products. “It brings the whole process out in the open, and eliminates the lack of communication that you often see in the [hair] color business,” said Cutler. “It’s a great tool to make people comfortable with the idea of coloring their hair.” Redken could roll out as many as 20 of the units across the U.S. this year. The concept is more advanced than the Redken Lab that made its debut in the Seventeen Studio Spa Salon in October and follows in the footsteps of the L’Oréal Professionnel Color Bar, which first appeared in Fred Segal Beauty’s Santa Monica, Calif., store in 2003, and then in Manhattan’s Butterfly Studio last year.

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