Lim Code by Isolation Unit



Japanese designers Isolation Unit have designed the interior of a salon in the Harajuku district of Tokyo, Japan, for hair-dressing chain LIM.


Surfaces of the interior have been left bare and unfinished, exposing the marks left on the walls and floors after stripping the space.


The reception and office has been placed inside a freight-container, which also acts as a wall to separate the entrance from the salon in the back.


More stories about Isolation Unit:

LIM hair salon
J House
Shifting Vases


Photographs are by Takumi Ota.

Here's some text from Isolation Unit:



LIM Hair (Less Is More) was founded 1991 and collaborates with ISOLATIONUNIT/ since 2005. The company has a very original business strategy: It is organized almost community-like: The employees don't quit after a few years as ordinary, they enter as young apprentices, get training and then move between the different shops, where they work on their own account.


Once all workplaces are occupied, the company expands and builds another branch to let the young stylists move up. Although it is a single company with a chain of shops, every branch is unique and has its particular identity and clientele: For example LIM Hair Clinie in Tokyo Naka-Meguro, with its sober ambiance and counseling based service is visited mostly by people in their 30's, that frequent the fine little select-shops and design cafes in the neighborhood.


APARTMENT+LIM in Osaka on the other hand has a very mixed clientele: The different senior stylists, that work in their individually designed 'booths', all have their own steady customers.


While the training section of the shop, where the upcoming stylist work, attracts very young people.


LIM CODE, the latest shop we designed, it opened June 12, was built precisely for these young stylists that completed their training and are moving up. Because also the targeted customers are younger, the shop is located in Tokyos bubbly Harajuku-area and prices are set lower than in the other branches.


The concept emerged from these premises and the project was consequently throughout low-cost.


This time, the rigorously minimal approach, that all LIM shops we designed have in common, not only applies to the appearance, but physically to the construction itself: Only indispensable interventions were made and the space was intentionally left ‘unfinished’: walls, floor and ceiling were left bare after dismantling and instead of separating walls, we placed a freight-container, that contains office and reception.


The rough and provisional setting reflects the situation of the fresh-baked stylists from Osaka who moved to the capital to start their career with just little means, but lots of ambitions.

Posted on Wednesday July 22nd 2009 at 12:03 am by Zaynab D. Ziari. Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • liz

    would love to see photos of the other spaces for comparison.

  • B

    Poverty is the new chique.

  • booh

    that wall treatment… I am not loving. Although the use of that shipping container as a space is rather clever, I really like how that space interacts with the other spaces- almost as if it were injected into a neutral space. I think I would REALLY like it if the walls were sandblasted a bit to make that white spackling less intrusive to the experience of the shop. I would be really interested to see what the shop looks like moved into with all the products and trade materials of the hairdressers b/c it doesn’t look like a salon without them!

  • modular

    Nice stuff. I’ve checked their website and there is lots of ‘greater’ stuff there.

    Good find.

  • booh

    Is it just me… or does the group Isolation Unit take pictures of these spaces before the client moves in… It’s a different perspective on the photography than what I’m used too…

  • umbram

    The wall isn’t treated actually. The white spots are traces of glue that remained after dismantelling the place. It’s a matter of principle to consequently leave everything as is and just put a container in the empty space. bare bone

  • If this space were being used for other purposes, I would not be loving it. But it’s a hair salon so the fact that it’s all about surface makes it work.

  • Kris Adams

    I would not want my hair cut here at all.

    Cutting hair is about rejuvenation to me anyway and this space just doesn’t feel very rejuvenating…

  • paul

    facade shot looks good, especially with the blue poking through.

    for me, the interior treatment is too raw and the furniture doesn’t make up for it.

  • SnowBallCity

    in a hair salon, you can do anything and it’s new, stylish, clever, and now.

  • Shanna

    I love it! This is deffinately the furture of sustainabilty. However the chairs do not look comfortable at alll.

  • Totomo Lim!!

    I had my hair cut in this salon last year. We noticed the shipping container on the second floor in the window and we went up to have a look.
    The real experience is more unified than the photo's suggest, the walls are softer and the salon has a great industrial feel.
    I was very impressed with the space, it felt open, homely and suited the salon's style. I liked the rawness and the effect of the mirrors placed and not fixed so you experienced multiple perspectives.
    Also a brilliant salon, with lovely, talented staff. I am sad I can't get my hair cut there all the time.