Designers create phygital interiors to upend the traditional spa experience in China

To give our audience eyes and ears into the live judging sessions that took place at Frame Awards 2020, we're sharing coverage of the insightful jury conversations that decided the winning projects. Below, we celebrate the recipient of the award for Health Club of the Year: Jiyu Spa by Shanghai Hip-Pop Design Team. Find the full collection of reports in our newly released May/June 2020 issue, Frame 134.

Danyang, China – When Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis, is quoted by the designers as one of the main inspirations for a spa, you’d better be prepared to be swept off your feet and to come out (of the spa) a different person. So, it seems totally justified that in order to select the Health Club of the Year, the jury members transcended into the future of what the next experience at health clubs and spas might look like. They ended up in the Far East, where, as jury member Alon Baranowitz of Baranowitz + Kronenberg put it, ‘they turn technology into craft’.

The jury appreciated Shanghai Hip-Pop Design Team’s abstract yet fully sensorial approach to the meditation and spa experience.

According to YourStudio’s Howard Sullivan, the idea behind Jiyu Spa could very well be that of ‘Stanley Kubrick meets TeamLab meets a Rick Owens runway show. It’s almost like Shamanistic Futurism or Space Age Ikebana, transporting your state of mind in a novel and really graceful way.’ What designer and art director Marcel Wanders found most interesting was that ‘normally meditation is seen in the context of nature, but at Jiyu Spa they made it completely artificial in an urban environment – an artificial environment that becomes its own nature. It has a fantastic and very new appeal, the digital physical.’

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Read more about the project here. Frame Awards 2020’s Hospitality category was proudly sponsored by Orgatec. The People’s Choice award winner was Transformation Miracles by Vox Architects.

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