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Henkel Beauty Care Hair Professional North America’s #AcademyofHair is a state-of-the-art, multi-branded learning and media production center. With a fabulous balcony view of the Pacific Ocean, this unique space delivers three distinct experiences with ease and finesse:

  • As a learning/education center for stylists, the space accommodates Henkel’s professional beauty brands and their hairstylists for multi-day, hands-on training sessions and photo shoots.
  • As a venue for product launches and demonstrations, the room transforms into a vibrant space for hosting customers, salon owners and media.
  • As a meeting space for a town hall or intimate gatherings, the room shows its calmer side with seating that can accommodate up to 175 people.

Accommodating three such diverse use cases can be challenging – especially when dealing with seven different brands under one roof. The Henkel team had two important requirements that shaped the meeting space and its AV infrastructure. The first was to minimize setup time with permanent equipment to serve each function. The second was to optimize technology for instant room reconfiguration and re-branding. Both objectives were achieved through tight integration of lighting control, the content delivery platform, and the AV system.


Henkel first retained Cibola as AV consultant for the company’s West Coast relocation – a project that included a large number of meeting and production spaces. Recognizing the complexity of moving seven brands into multiple floors, Henkel wisely divided the project into three phases over a two-year period. This gave the Academy’s architect and consultants extra time to understand the meeting room’s goals, propose a number of alternatives, and test critical technologies before construction began.

Associate Brand Manager James Jordan was deeply involved in every phase of the project. As a stylist and brand expert himself, James was able to vividly describe how the Academy would perform for each of Henkel’s seven brands. He and Greta Rose, Director of Integration Management, attended weekly design meetings to share their insights and guidance.

While the meeting space took shape, Cibola also worked with Henkel’s technology group to ensure the proposed systems were compliant with corporate IT, AV and security standards. The Henkel team asked Cibola to stay on board as their systems integrator when the design phase ended and construction began.


The #AcademyofHair experience begins as guests step off the elevator, where three LED ticker displays welcome them with personalized messages. A trio of LCD screens also show content related to the upcoming meeting or training session. After checking in, guests move through a smaller space that amplifies the Academy’s large volume, and its view of the ocean beyond.

Since the Academy’s two-story windows overlook the Pacific Ocean, they’re left uncovered for most meetings. As you enter, you see a low stage area and sixteen-foot-wide direct-view LED screen to the right. To the left is a high-resolution LED ticker above shampoo bowls and product displays. Both LED displays receive pre-programmed signals from the content management system when they’re not being used for presentations.

Music plays a major role in the Academy. A pair of line array loudspeakers and two subwoofers reproduce streaming audio and output from the DJ station. Ceiling speakers are used for voice amplification, and also provide supplemental sound reinforcement at the rear of the room.

Live demonstrations are a critical part of Academy operations. Two presenter-tracking cameras, one above the stage and one on the side wall, allow participants to view stylists’ work in fine detail on the large LED screen. Inputs throughout the space also support portable cameras.

For internal meetings and classes, participants and presenters use a pair of very simple touch screen control panels. When multi-day courses and branded events need technical assistance, a control station at the rear of the room provides access to all AV equipment functions. The full-function wired control unit also incorporates lighting and shade control in a single user interface.


During the grand opening, Stefan L. Mund, Head of Beauty Care Hair Professional in North America, shared his vision for the #AcademyofHair, “We are proud to open the #AcademyofHair, a one-of-a-kind, multi-branded and fully digital space…that embodies Henkel’s commitment to innovation, offering a state-of-the-art space for stylists.”

The Henkel Academy team has been pleased by the back-to-back bookings, and by how well the space serves so many purposes. According to James Jordan, “We have a uniquely designed space that is digitally brandable with the touch of a button, so all brands can set their own atmosphere. Brands are using the space for a multitude of activities: internal meetings, training, product launches, Facebook Live events and photo shoots.”

Henkel’s seven brands had been under one roof just over a year when it became the number-two beauty company in North America. The beauty industry press has praised the #AcademyofHair as state-of-the-art, inspirational, a modern masterpiece, and a mecca for stylists. Through the vision and hard work of a committed team, the #AcademyofHair plays an essential role in building worldwide ambassadors for Henkel’s beauty care hair professional brands.


This article appeared in the November 2019 issue of Commercial Integrator:

©2020 Lisa Perrine