Welcome to the very first post in our new “Client Spotlight” blog series! In this series, we’ll be talking to past and current Hip Haven clients about their signature design styles, key inspirations, and their experiences in working with both our company and our products. We will share photos of these spaces and see the varied ways in which different designers, businesses and home owners have incorporated our midcentury-influenced products into their design schemes.
To kick off the series, we spoke with Michael Portman, co-founder of Birds Barbershop, which is one of the coolest places in either Austin or Houston to get a haircut. A longtime client, Birds has come to us multiple times to source retromodern light fixtures and accessories to use in outfitting out their diverse, eclectic barbershop locations. Check out the Q&A and photos below to learn more about about this fascinating client!
Michael, tell us a little bit about your company and why you started it.
I started Birds Barbershop with my childhood friend, Jayson Rapaport, back in 2006, after we decided that we wanted to create a place that would make getting a haircut something you look forward to, rather than a chore.
What would you say are the overarching design styles you’ve chosen to incorporate into your spaces?
We take design cues from all over the place: community pools, old video game arcades, croquet clubs, you name it. We love mid-century, Eames-influenced design, especially since form follows function in so much of the work. Take fiberglass shell chairs, for example. They look good in groups, they’re built to last and you can wipe hair and stains right off. Win-win-win.
Pictured above: Hip Haven's Globe Pendant Collection (16 in. Acrylic Globe in White)
What is your inspiration behind each barbershop’s distinctive design?
The neighborhood is always the most critical influence when planning the design of each shop, making every Birds different, but reflective of both its surroundings and customer base.
While designing the overall look and effect of the space, what’s most important?
Sitting in the chair is the most important experience at Birds, or any other salon or barbershop for that matter. So when designing each shop, we aim to have everything to come together seamlessly, when viewed from the perspective of a customer getting a hair cut.
Pictured above: Retro Bullet Lighting Collection (Single Sconce with Ivory Shade and Blue Powder Coated Hardware)
How did you hear of Hip Haven and our midcentury modern decor and lighting products?
I’ve always been a personal fan of the mid-century design style, and even used to rescue old shell chairs from the curbs in front of vacated Hollywood apartments. That being said, after buying a lighting fixture from Hip Haven for my own home, I got wise to the commercial possibilities.
Favorite Hip Haven product?
Hip Haven’s globe pendants are quintessential to us—ideal form, function and lots of un-shaded light to work by.
What would you say you love most about your newest space?
Our latest barbershop is a time machine to a timeless destination.
What have you enjoyed most about working with Hip Haven?
We’ve loved working with real, friendly, helpful people who we can tell enjoy working with us.