Designing Spas for ambience and amenity
They’re good for our health, they make us feel happy and they nourish our body and soul. So how to go about designing a Spa that delivers on so many levels?
There is a balance to be found, and we like to think of this as a symbiotic relationship between ambience and amenity. One without the other just doesn’t work – the result will be ill-functioning and shallow in character.
As with all interiors, a space directly affects our emotions. Our response is instantaneous and we want this to have a compelling feel-good factor! For the Spa environment, this needs to be calm and relaxed, an atmosphere that allows you to be transported, and one in which you feel able to suspend the cares of daily life.
Feeling good in our surroundings immediately affects our wellness, and with this increased sense of well-being, a Spa can begin to deliver.
Being able to transport the end-user – in mood and experience – to an altogether different place is key. We can do this with colour, texture, lighting and pictorial reference. A mood can be conveyed through a design that not only creates an otherworldly environment, with sufficient theatre to intrigue and stimulate, but also with an air of calm, conducive to contemplation. Too much stimulation and you’ve blown it – this is finely tuned interior design.
Deliver this Spa ambience with natural colours, texture and pattern. The concept of biophilic design strikes a chord here. Biophilic means a love of nature. If you are able, in some way, to mimic nature, then you can connect to the natural environment. Our innate attraction to nature has a direct effect on our health and wellbeing, so harnessing this in a Spa environment is a winning formula. Engage all of the senses! The temperature needs to be comfortable and conducive to relaxation, with acoustics considered. In some areas, the joy of silence can be respected, whilst meditative and evocative music will play a part in other zones. The aroma of the Spa should relax you and be a temptation to indulge in a treatment or two.
Enhance textural elements with discreet lighting.
LIGHTING IS CRUCIAL IN THE SPA DESIGN.
Get it right and your mood can be set by this element alone. For the Spa environment lighting design is all about light and shade. Lighting should avoid any kind of glare, and will utilise indirect fittings where textural surfaces become artwork, walls take on three-dimensional presence and a sense of intrigue is created.
Design an interior with space remaining in it. Keep things uncluttered and use this space to clear one’s mind.
All of the above is ambience. This alone in a Spa can be initially seductive but if it isn’t supported with well-designed amenities then the design is undermined. Prepare yourself for a massive disappointment.
The amenities should be stress-free – easy to use lockers, fabulous hairdryers and comfortable loungers. Choose materials that age well. Practical and durable finishes that don’t chip and scuff too easily. Balance all of this with products that stand up to the particular rigours associated with pools and spas, whilst avoiding any elements that could remind one of a municipal flavoured leisure facility!
Guests should be booking their return visit as they depart, taking with them a memorable, unique and creative experience. This interior should encourage positive comment, anecdotal chat and recommendation. Do this by including thought-provoking design features that convey a mood.
As with all interior design, it is a balance, and in the Spa, this balance we have uniquely coined ambience and amenity.
Do all of this and you’ll have yourself another award-winning Spa from the team at Ashton House Design.
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Spa designer Devon