The Fragrance of a Memory

Playing dress up is every girls’ most loved pastime. The interiors of Queens Lady Salon is a spinoff from these childhood fantasies that remains fresh in the memory of every woman.

NNI Associates was tasked with the interior design of a beauty salon, located at The Centre Mall. The idea was to create a concept salon that resonates with customers from all walks of life; with women who wear Abhayas and also with those women who are less conservative in their dressing. This space was to help women feel pampered not just with the service offered but also by the ambience they are surrounded by.

“The challenge was to convert a café into a beauty salon with efficient circulation connecting the two entrances – main entrance from the road and another access from the mall,” recollects architect Nima Harris who is the one-woman force behind NNI Associates.

Queens Beauty Centre and Spa,Doha by NNI Associates

Layering the colour scheme with subtle shades of the dominant colours along with varying textures and accents add depth and visual interest to the space.

“The layout needed a specific area dedicated to each activity like eyebrows, hair styling, pedicure or manicure. Each area needed to look spacious while maintaining adequate privacy and ergonomic work stations.

Nima, a diligent and talented architect, has been in the field of design for over fifteen years and has had a wide portfolio of residences, small office spaces, and cafes to her credit.

Nima Harris

Architect, Nima Harris says, “Each element is informed by the narrative and is thoughtfully positioned with meticulously detailing.”

She explains her design storyboard, “The concept was inspired by the first experience of a child, getting dressed and feeling special, usually imitating her elders dressing up for a special occasion. At that point even if the child doesn’t understand much, the excitement and the images of exquisite make-up boxes in rich textures and colours or perfume bottles in interesting shapes on the dressing table stays on as memories for a long period of time.”

It is this ambience of make-believe, the surprise and an elevated sense of feeling pampered along with curiosity evoked with the soothing fragrances and the tactile exploration of colours, shapes, and textures of cosmetics and its packaging that is explored in this interiors. “The emotional connect here is universal, irrespective of culture, lifestyle, beliefs or ethnic background. This experience is the focus of the narrative that is embedded in every aspect of the design,” explains Nima.

The smoking area of the previous Costa Coffee outlet was converted into hair styling zone and the existing rear corridor was divided into small rooms for facials and waxing rooms for privacy and to control odour. Utilising the existing glass partitions of these rooms as per the brief, resulting in an irregular space between them. This was solved by extending the in-between space to form a central angular L shaped corridor with mall entrance on one end and pantry on the other end and with a series of facilities in between. The strategic placement of reception near the main entrance at the junction of this L shaped corridor provides direction to customers and maintains a productive workflow.

The first thing that sets the tone for the interiors is the rich colour scheme that is used, the attention-grabbing pink and gold combination fits the narrative to a T and when used together, an elevated sense of luxury is created which is also synonymous to this interior space.

Instead of decorative features, partitions, ceiling, custom-designed work stations, and display units serves its function and doubles as interesting visual elements.

“Colour scheme was guided by the narrative and refined to create balance and compliment lighting. Even though pink as the main colour for a beauty salon involved a risk of being predictable and stereotypical, we took it as a challenge to create a fresh look by mixing a unique variation of the common pink. The scheme consists of pastels in pink and grey with accents in gold and metallic burgundy with a hint of black. The grey and burgundy compliment the pink uplifting the scheme while being a practical choice for high maintenance salon chairs. The gold elements bring warmth and opulence to the scheme,” says Nima.

Lady design series by Jotun paints was quite effective in bringing a dreamy and welcoming interior that is playful yet unapologetically pink, states Nima.

“This space celebrates femininity and the thoughtful details highlight the fun and exquisiteness involved in the entire beauty spa experience,” agrees Nima.

Every aspect of design, according to Nima, is so positioned for its value, not only for the design factor but also for its functionality.

“Everything is there for a reason,” says Nima, “Instead of adding decorative features, partitions, ceiling, custom-designed work stations, and display units serves its function and doubles as interesting visual elements that lend character to the space.”

A holistic design approach by integrating colour scheme, geometry, lighting and composition of spatial volumes is adopted to meet the functional and aesthetic requirements of the interiors.

It is fulfilling to arrive at a layout that solves the major challenges in space planning along with creating dramatic spatial experience shares Nima Harris.

At the main entrance, the double height lobby directs the customer to the reception in the waiting area.

“The lobby gives only a glimpse of an interesting space inside without revealing much thus slowly building up the excitement,” she says, “Ceiling design with varying heights and curves lend form to the otherwise irregular central corridor and makes the reception at the junction as the focus of design from both entrances.”

When entering the salon from the mall, the customer is directed to the reception with the help of ceiling design through the central corridor that opens into a vast space.

Queens Beauty Centre and Spa,Doha by NNI Associates

The interplay of the pink and gold gives an impression of luxury and an elevated spa experience.

“The contrast between the ‘compression’ of a low, narrow space leading to the ‘expansion’ to a high, open space is a powerful technique employed by designers for elevating the spatial experience. Partitions with varying heights and playful cut outs provide visual continuum and openness yet provides pockets of privacy and spatial demarcation for different activities,” explains Nima Harris.

Project Details

Area- 290 sq. metre

Material- Ceiling/ Partitions

– Paint finishes – Fenomastic paint, Velvet and Romano – texture paint and Easy gold – Jotun


– Porcelain tiles.

Wood panelling

– MDF finished with PU paint with gold polished SS metal trims
– gold polished SS cabinets supported on metal poles.


– Back painted crystalline glass top for work stations
– Corian surfaces for reception and cabinet counters with wash basin.


– Jaya Prasad, Vijisha Jaya Prasad, Queens Beauty Centre and Spa


– Ar.Nima V.N- NNI Associates


– Shahir Aboobacker