When several of your most discerning friends quietly mention the same London hairdressing salon within a week, you know it's time to take note. Such was the case with Fourth Floor, the rooftop salon owned by Richard Stepney.
Of course, the truly discerning (think London luminaries like John Pawson, Jon Snow, and Tom Dixon) have been visiting Stepney for a while now (Fourth Floor has been in business since 1990). Stepney recently celebrated his twentieth anniversary in his Clerkenwell location, which was truly off the map when he first opened in a thirties-era industrial space.
Accessed by a seemingly dodgy freight elevator, Fourth Floor is bright and open with views of the city's skyline and art installations throughout, typically bartered for hair services over the years (it's also how Stepney procured some dental work and a wardrobe of bespoke clothing). The custom shelving, mirrors and lighting were designed by Tom Dixon, who used to have his studio on the ground floor. (We're presuming he has a lifetime supply of haircuts.) In many ways, Fourth Floor is an organic tableau of the connections Stepney has made over the years.
In a piece for The Independent, novelist Reggie Nadelson describes Fourth Floor as follows: "Trendy in a laid-back sort of way, unisex in an uneventful manner, at Fourth Floor all you get is a brilliant haircut.” That and more. For further information, visit Fourth Floor.
Above: Copper Shades from Tom Dixon with a custom mirror, also of his design.
Above: Custom shelving by Tom Dixon. A mix of wood and painted flooring in the otherwise white space.
Above: In the center of the room is a Brad Lochore shadow painting. The ceramic vessel on display is by Alison Britton.
Above: All the barber's chairs are original Belmont chairs that have been reconditioned.
Above: Vitsoe shelving display Stepney's custom line of hair product. The Florence Knoll Split Rail sofa and chairs were bought at auction from Bonhams; hanging from the ceiling is a Paper Star Light by Tom Dixon.
Above: A rope-framed Tom Dixon mirror in the all-white space. Stepney also likes to use Bristol Maid industrial hospital instrument trolleys in the salon.
Above: The original thirties-era windows leading onto the roof terrace. A white tiled ceiling with skylights. The sculpture on the floor is a piece by Tom Dixon.
Above: For his own line of hair products (three years in the making), Stepney collaborated with Italian chemist Corpolibero, known for its centuries-old grooming formulas developed originally by Italian monks. Sean Perkins of North designed the packaging for the product line.
Above: To celebrate 20 years of Fourth Floor, Stepney asked four of his clients (Tom Dixon, John Pawson, Brad Lochore, and Sophie Smallhorn) to create a limited edition packaging for his line.
Above: Stepney also collaborated with Jeremy Coysten and Perkins from North to create a cloth-bound book for its clientele that includes an essay from art curator Andrew Renton, insights from Jon Snow, and recipes from Nigel Slater.