Buff Nail Studios, Brighton – Melbourne, Australia

Buff Nail Studios is located in a non-descript commercial building on Church Street in Brighton, an affluent coastal suburb of Melbourne about 10 kilometres from the central business district.


This is a pilot location to launch the Buff Nail Studios brand. A powder-blue door leads downstairs to the nail boutique that is a renovated, compact, 79 square-metre (850 sq.ft) subterranean space that was previously occupied by a clothing store.


Buff aims to create new benchmark in the industry which they feel is missing a boutique offering where natural products and superior specialist care are combined in an environment specifically designed to enhance the client’s each visit. To accomplish this, Nuff partnered with Melbourne based interior design firm Design by Golden.


Rather than let the lack of natural light and the below-street-level space become a drawback, the designers set out to create a quiet, peaceful sanctuary with no distractions to allow the salon’s clients to relax and forget the busy world above while having their nails pampered. Controlling all the lighting allowed the designers to make light an integral tool in defining the space and the various functions within.


Elevating the usual experience of nail maintenance, the designers have combined a laboratory vibe with a boutique spa sensibility. Pastel colours, distinctive functional lighting and minimal distractions create a sense of clarity and peace in a space that could have easily felt claustrophobic and crowded.


Sterilisation and the ceremony of washing are emphasized – a smart move already before the pandemic and an extremely smart and necessary move now. The treatment zone is anchored centrally with a leathered granite wash station integral for meticulous cleaning prior, during and after treatments for both clients and technicians. The increased focus on hygiene is evident in the high temperature cleaning depositories that sterilise all equipment and tools of nail care on trays throughout operation of the studio.


Golden (formerly We Are Huntly) is a Melbourne-based, award-winning design studio established in 2013 by Kylie Dorotic and Alicia McKimm. Tuija Seipell.


Images: Sharyn Cairns


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