About Chop Chop
(Los Angeles) – Midway between downtown L.A. and the Pacific Ocean is ChopChop: a splendid collision of art and hairdressing. The creative force behind the salon is owner and Bay-Area native, Darin Birchler. A hair stylist for more than 18 years, Birchler apprenticed with Suiki Lohr of Architects and Heroes in San Francisco, where he learned Sassoon’s advanced haircutting techniques. The famed though now-defunct salon provided Birchler with the foundation for a successful career and the concept of integrating an art gallery and hair salon.
“I like the idea of exposing art to the everyday world,” said Birchler. “Our clients anticipate the new artwork as well as our gallery openings, which are one part dance party and two parts art reception.” Installer every six weeks – about the time it takes for lowlights to grow out – Birchler personally hangs the art and reconfigures the freestanding stylist stations to accomodate each new exhibit.
Synergy of the spaces is no accident: Darin spent eight months in search of ChopChop’s home. Collaborating with architect David Levine, they transformed a former web hosting space on La Brea to what might be described as SoHo-meets-SoMa-meets WeHo. Once inside the light-filled lobby, you’re greeted by a staff member posessing none of L.A.’s usual salon pretense. (The only blonde at ChopChop is a maple veneer.) Proceed past the reception desk and dressing rooms, and encounter hickory wood floors, cable task lighting, and ambient electronica.
When it comes to philosophy, Birchler’s haircuts are a wearable work of art: each creation befits the unique physique and style of the client. As for celebrity clients, Birchler has a few, although he would prefer not to cut and tell. He’s far more interested in building a new brand and new band of architects and heroes.