Laughing Buddha – Tattoo Parlor & Piercing Shop – Retail – Board & Vellum

Interior Design, Retail, Third Places

Laughing Buddha Tattoo & Body Piercing

Interior design for the new retail location of this Capitol Hill favorite.

As a tattoo and piercing studio with a 20-year history in Seattle, many Seattleites recognize Laughing Buddha as a Capitol Hill staple. The studio’s new proprietor — who has a history as a tattoo and body piercing artist herself — wanted to create a studio that was not only a fun, warm, and inviting place to get tattooed or pierced, but also would be a fulfilling and comfortable place to work.

Laughing Buddha’s new space was formally a dentist’s office, and we helped guide its transformation through the design phases, permitting and construction observation, and then finally with interior staging.

In her words, the owner wanted to create the “most beautiful tattoo shop in the Pacific Northwest.” She wanted lots of plants, natural light, and a spa-like atmosphere. We chose to juxtapose elements of a Scandinavian-style spa — like light wood LVT flooring and generous quantities of indoor plants — with a grey, monochrome colorblock on one side, which offers a sense of edginess.

In spite of its glass frontage, the interior is not light-filled, so the plants were selected carefully to tolerate lower light conditions. All the plants are real, with the lone exception of the “wheatgrass” at the front desk, which is artificial, not least because visitors can’t help but pet it.

In the center of the store, we created a small oasis that acts as a comfortable, social space — a “tattoo lounge” concept – that balances the needs of privacy and publicity so that everyone can have the experience they want when they consult about their body art. At the edges, the space is framed with locked cabinets displaying the most unique body jewelry: wall-mounted on the color-blocked wall, and inside a custom, free-standing jewelry chest. The space is also used as an active art gallery, and regularly participates in the Art Walk.

One of the bigger challenges of the design, was that tattoo art is a quasi-medical procedure, and keeping the space clean and wipeable is a requirement for operation. Fabrics were not an option, which is a challenge for a lounge. Instead, leather seating was the rule, and in place of an area rug, we utilized white hex tile to create a “tile rug” of sorts, which breaks up the scale of the space and creates an anchor for the lounge.

Client Review:
“Board & Vellum took my business lobby to a new level for my whole industry. Charles was easy to work with and everything felt very natural. I'm thrilled with the results. We're one of the most beautiful tattoo and body piercing studios in the country now.”
View this review on Houzz.

B&V Project Team:
Charles FademProject Lead
Jeff SandlerDesign Team
Marissa LadaInterior Staging

This project was built by Laughing Buddha proprietor, Christy Lillard-Brooker.
Ben Cruzat fabricated the B&V-designed, custom jewlery display case.
Select art on display is by Seattle artist Brittney Avila, with a space in Venue.
Photos by Travis Peterson.

How did this project come together?

Here are a few artifacts from the design process.

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