HJ Men Interiors: MILLS X Primark in Manchester

by charlottegw / last updated December 17, 2021

Joe Mills, renowned male grooming expert and owner of Joe and Co in Soho, has opened a 800 sq ft barbershop at the new Manchester Primark store. MILLS x Primark is a black and white, modernist haven with simplicity at its heart. Find out more about how Joe created the cool new space, his top interiors tips and click through the gallery to see more pictures.

What was your inspiration for the design?
Inspiration is a funny thing, I see a lot of things and spend a lot of time absorbing images. I have a mountain of books and spend a lot of time online researching images for mood boards and for session work, so I have a lot going on in my head visually. Things like the Bauhaus art scene and the Art Deco prints and textiles I love because of the simplicity and the structure that is within them. Some of this bleeds in to the concept and, along with the visual identity, helps to form the idea. I also wanted a lot of mirrors in the space to really open it up and create a feeling of space and the reflection of light really helps this. It has to work as an environment as well, which then is where the practical things play out.

Why did you decide on the colour scheme?
I wanted something classic and clean and for me when we came up with the logo and brand design, it just automatically fell into place with the monochrome look. This is across all of our art work and the filter we use on social media. The layout we created in store lent itself to that as well and the choice of the fixtures and fittings followed. I also like the minimalist feel and the feeling of space we have created.

What are your three top tips on creating a salon design from scratch?
1 Start with the brand and the ethos behind it, this will then help with the tone of voice for the interior and then the whole visual content be it social media, website or photo shoots.

2 Think about your budget and how this translates into the space and where you think the business and brand will go moving forward. Plan it right from the start and it will save you headaches down the line.

3 Get a second opinion, ask someone who has done this before and what they think – could be the furniture provider or another salon owner you know. I have tweaked the designs and layout of my shops over the years as the business changes and I have learned from mistakes, so sometimes that kind of knowledge really can help. There is no right or wrong way to do this, there are simple things to remember like the spacing of the furniture, heights of sinks, but other than that it can be what you want it to be.


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