“Rouge 58 is a classic Chanel red,” says Nadja Nebas with a slight German accent, explaining the name of her new Williamsburg space. “I’ve been a makeup artist and stylist for ten years. I thought it would be fun to have a name that represented that. Everything else about my place is very minimal.” She is not kidding.
Located at the corner of Lorimer and Metropolitan, Rouge 58 officially opened its doors to the public last night. A storefront-like window opens into the long, narrow gallery that radiates a no-nonsense simplicity. Black floors collide with white walls covered, at least for the moment, in portraits of wrinkly grandmas and grandpas making funny faces. Two large mirrors propped up in front of two swiveling hairdressing chairs and a glowing “Rouge 58” sign make up the salon area. An old-school pinball machine is pushed up against another wall, while turntables (tonight manned by Rok One) are set up on a table in front of a barred window. Nearby, a makeshift open bar is manned by friends as a swarm of painfully well-dressed scene kids roam the room and lounge about on the patio.
There’s no set mission statement for the mostly empty space at the moment: Nebas seems open to anything, and planning a bit of everything else. As of now, the space will be open daily from 12 to 8 p.m. on weekdays as an art gallery and, starting in September, her own salon. Nights and weekends are up in the air: live local music, Fashion Week events, film screenings, dance classes, and even events with neighborhood schools are all in the works. There is no consistent alcohol service: “When we have alcohol here, it will be by donation only,” she says, noting the open bar. (We’ll gather that means that events that have “donations” at the door will also fund free cocktail hours.) Otherwise, Rouge 58 is meant to be both minimalist and maximally versatile: Being able to empty out and transform it at the onset of some new inspiration is key. “I have so many creative friends in the area,” Nebas explains. “I want to make it a multi-functioning place for them to use too. Where we can have fashion, art, and music if we want.”