26 Nov 2020 •
2020: A Spa Odyssey
Some time ago we were approached by a client asking us to design a day spa in Caracas, stating literally that they wanted something `out of this world´. Considering that the location is in a considerably busy area of the city, they desired it to act as a pleasant hermetic bubble, an airtight space isolated from the noise of the city, and where its frequently polluted environment simply would not exist nor apply.
Upon considering this we decided to act following faithfully the client´s idea , as in absolute contrast to the urban context around the location, with an architecture aiming to evoke the imagery of outer space, the mysterious and `other worldly´.
Atelier Caracas is an office that operates and designs following references and clues coming generally from outside architecture, and often emerging from pop culture, fashion and the world of film. Contemplating the concept of `outer worldly´ led us very quickly to consider analyzing and dissecting the visual aesthetics of Stanley Kubrick´s seminal SciFi movie `2001: A Space Odyssey´, in its staging and scenarios, and we decided to undertake architecture following those cues. We would endeavor through the deconstruction of the sets and scenography created by Kubrick and Harry Lange to generate more than a spa, to create a space of surreal perspectives, a diffuse threshold between earth and outer space.
The day spa, while fulfilling and taking into account all of the client´s requirements, ended up being the pretext to generate a territory, a statement, an experiment in details, furniture and space evoking `the other worldly´.
Taking into account a tight budget, the project consists of a limited intervention. It is a space in pastel pink throughout, in which the ribbed slab ceiling structure is left exposed and sprayed with stucco to generate a cave-like sensation. The front office reception desk is built in MDF panel clad in Formica simulating marble, resting on a large stone found on a roadside in the city outskirts, bringing to mind the presence of a meteorite. A succession of wood panels covered in wood simulated Formica with large oculi generate cubicles, which subliminally bring to mind for SciFi connoisseurs the film´s antagonist, the A.I. entity known as HAL.
In between cubicles there are rose tinted glass separations, generating chromatic filters and altering the perception of the inhabitant. Plants in their naïve clay pots create ironic perspectives , in contrast and within the `outer space´ environment, with their soil grown and ground sourced materials providing warmth in the overarching rose hued context, constantly reminding us of HOME.