People should be able to leave a building better than when they first entered. This idea is no better exemplified than through hospitality spaces dedicated to wellness. In these nurturing designs, the environment flows with the body and the mind, reflecting and inspiring positive emotions to all who enter. With accessibility, thoughtfulness and functionality held at their core, these four hospitality interiors embrace a uniquely interactive approach to wellbeing.
Ziedlejas Resort (Latvia)
Riga-based firm Open AD sought to more than simply make a historical copy of the saunas within Ziedlejas. Instead, opting to increase aesthetics and functionality, the firm created a relaxing wellness space that guests of all conditions—even those with limited mobility—could enjoy. “At its core, the resort is based on maintaining the Latvian ‘pirts’ or sauna tradition, and introducing new people to its healing powers,” stated the firm.
Split between Glass, Smoke, and the newly constructed Wool sauna, the theming and presentation of relaxation as a natural experience is reflected throughout the materials. The Wool Sauna, in particular, represents a wholly unique approach, borrowed from Mongolian culture. Concealed in black timber, the yurt-like structure opens to reveal walls clad in comforting wool for insulation with furnishings placed radially from the central wood stove—the focal point and progenitor of relaxation in the space.
There’s even a uniqueness to the cooling methods for after-sauna rituals. As there are no nearby bodies of water like with the other saunas, Open AD included plunge pools alongside massive, breezy hammocks to let guests reset.
Sense of Self (Australia)
A collaboration between Setsquare Studio, Chamberlain Architects and Hearth Studio, the goal in creating the Sense of Self Bathhouse was to ‘create an empathetic space engaged in a new idea of wellbeing: community, acceptance and restoration.’ Taking that into full consideration, the teams first went about eliminating floor distinction based on gender or physical disability, instead prioritizing the relationship between the body and the space.
The interior becomes an extension of water to help guide guests, with the materials boasting properties of refraction, stillness, power, buoyancy and erosion. This understands water as a force of movement, growth, healing and nourishment, which feed into wellness as a constant interaction, rather than a prescriptive moment.
Decorative glass plays with the refraction of light while water walls and flowing fabric curtains display. Vegetation captures restoration. Even the concrete, travertine and sandstone are implemented in a way that would allow them to act as they would in a natural environment, with erosion not to be avoided, but encouraged.
Hagius Sports Studio (Germany)
Owned by brothers Nicolas and Timothy Hagius, the ultimate goal of Hagius is to provide a space where mind and body become connected, a feat Gonzalez Haase AAS achieved through light, sound and aroma layered throughout the space to help support a healthy circadian rhythm.
All but the most necessary visual elements have been removed from the space. The use of raw, unprocessed materials such as wood, granite, steel and burlap provide a haptic dimension in line with the space’s mind-body connection while also serving as distinctions between the functional spaces. Bio-dynamic lighting provides stimulating and relaxing effects by simultaneously emitting cool and warm light, each level adjustable according to the time of day or training type.
“We have created a form of complexity in a space that at first sight may look relatively simple due to the tranquility it exudes. That complexity stems from unusual surfaces and an uncommon composition of materials,” Pierre Jorge Gonzalez explains. No matter where guests travel, the facility is designed to move with them and rest with them.
Aeon Wellness Hotel (Italy)
Using a 550-year old farm and its associated structures as a base, noa* created a new-age wellness getaway nestled between meadows and woods as it looks out onto the Merano Alps in Italy. The firm uses this dichotomy between past and present to create a dialogue of intangibility at the in between, wherein wellness enters at the break between one point and the next.
“The past has grown like stone, wood and nature. The future, on the other hand, is veiled, mysterious and artificial. It is intangible like the sky, the night or the ocean,” states interior designer Patrick Gurtler on choosing colors for the spaces. “In between is the moment, a sharp, unconditional break, but also a point of contact. Not to separate, but to connect.”
In the dedicated wellness space, guests ‘dive’ through a horizontal blue, starting as a representation for the sky, but shifting to mean water as the guests rise above it and join with notes of beige in the upper floors. Elements like the infinity pool also play into this concept, marking the ‘water’s edge’ before it evaporates into the mountain air. There is also a Finnish sauna and connected steam bath, which play off concepts of extroversion and introversion, respectively, again referencing the natural environment.