The meeting of the minds occurred in 2009, when Noah Waxman and Lucas Werthein were enrolled in the interactive telecommunications program at New York University. That’s where they met architect Marcelo Pontes, who was visiting from Brazil to check out student projects. In 2016, the three founded their collaborative, digital/physical studio, Cactus, in Brooklyn, with Waxman in charge of strategy, Werthein technology and production, and Pontes, often working remotely from Rio de Janeiro, architecture.
One of the firm’s projects, the Ever/Body flagship in downtown Manhattan, is remarkable—in appearance but also in speed. The team received the keys to the 5,000-square-foot site just eight weeks before the cosmetic dermatology clinic opened for business.
“We had to dramatically reduce the time it takes to open a retail space,” Pontes recalls. To do so, he, Waxman, and Werthein handled everything, from interiors to branding, themselves. Graphics in calming pale greens not only play well with the existing hardwood flooring and reference the Cactus-created Ever/Body logo but also “suggest plant life,” Waxman notes of the colors, “which helps create a trustworthy environment.”
The treatment rooms, prefabricated off-site from plywood, particleboard, and MDF, can be rolled out to multiple locations, Ever/Body’s business plan. Inside them, LEDs can be programmed for any procedure, from dermal fillers to laser hair removal.
“They enhance the patient experience and keep cost and assembly time down,” Werthein explains. “Great craftsmanship can make humble materials look like a million bucks.” A concept that extends to the salon’s exterior, with its forest-green vinyl-acrylic signage, and customers.