Chiara Del Core 14 mar 2019 Articles 1 comment

3 - Guidelines for good design

From a design point of view, spas and wellness centers are particular types for which multiple aspects must be considered. There is a real guide on this, the Guide to Hydrothermal Spa Development Standard which, introduced by the Global Spa & Wellness Summit, sets the standards to be respected during the design process. It is a technical and professional handbook able to remedy the problems encountered during the design of wetlands such as saunas, Turkish baths and thermal complexes.
During the preliminary phase it is necessary to carry out a feasibility study that considers the intervention from an economic, functional and managerial point of view. It is necessary to consider even the smallest details in order to achieve a satisfactory and sustainable result over time. The drafting of a business plan should be prior to any type of intervention; in fact, it is essential to consider the competitors and the additional services that the structure in question will have to offer to make the difference, the costs of construction and management over time. This is because it is important to become aware of the time needed to recover the amounts used for investments. Unfortunately, sometimes poorly considered choices have cost the bankruptcy fate of these centers. For this reason, it is correct to reason consciously in terms of sustainability and economic efficiency, using choices that maximize performance while guaranteeing low costs.
There are some fundamental principles that must guide the design of the beauty center and below we see some of them.


The prerogative of every respectable Spa or wellness center is to amaze users with wonder so as to leave a memorable memory.
However, the spectacularization of space must never sacrifice its functionality: environments must be exploited to the full in order to ensure high performance, guaranteeing quality and beauty. The message to convey is that of having landed in a space where relaxation is the king and where it is possible to take a break from the hectic pace of everyday life. To this end, some precautions are crucial in the choice of design and interior finishes. It is good to prefer the curvilinear course of the environment and the rounded shapes of the furnishings, since they guarantee the achievement of a good level of psycho-physical comfort. Even the materials and colors must be measured according to their function and the image they want to convey; warm colors, welcoming hues, waterproof mosaics in areas wet by water and enveloping wood in the cabins intended for users who want more privacy.
The same concept applies to lighting and acoustics, one calibrated in order not to blind the user but to recreate a relaxing atmosphere, the other to ensure good insulation especially in relaxation areas. Everything must form a harmonious and functional whole for an experience of peace and tranquility.


The characteristic that distinguishes Spas and wellness centers is the constant presence of the water element, a symbol of life and purification of body and soul. Hydrotherapy treatments are carried out thanks to the insertion of showers, Turkish baths, whirlpools and saunas that guarantee unparalleled benefits.
This symbolic value however, has consequences that should not be underestimated in the design phase: humidity must be controlled and managed in order not to damage the structures in question. In fact, the co-presence of water and heat can cause phenomena of humidity and subsequent condensation, damaging to the machinery essential to the wellness center. To avoid such unpleasant inconveniences, it is essential to control the temperature keeping it constant, to establish the right humidity level and to ensure the correct ventilation of the rooms. In this way it is easier to achieve optimal environmental comfort according to which the temperature is equal to 27 ° with a humidity rate of 70%. However it is impossible to prevent the formation of humidity and for this it is necessary to resort to solutions that prevent damage to walls and structures.
In this regard, the use of waterproof materials such as glass and derivatives is an excellent compromise in this type of environment if added to the use of insulating materials that guarantee thermal comfort, contributing to energy savings. Furthermore, it is necessary to insert specific dehumidifiers capable of absorbing excess humidity.
Let's now see the stages that make up the hydrothermal path.
Treatment that through heat contributes to cell turnover, promotes circulation and has psycho-therapeutic effects. It is a very ancient and still widespread practice that provides various benefits thanks to innovative technologies.
From a formal point of view it looks like a closed box in natural wood, welcoming and versatile as it can be built ad hoc to meet specific needs. The internal seats are also made of wood with low thermal conductivity and must ensure a distance of 60 cm between one user and another.
Ventilation inside the cabin is indispensable and guaranteed thanks to fresh external air and internal hot air changes (usually 8 changes per hour).
Today it is possible to enjoy the classic Finnish sauna but also some very particular types such as the aromatic sauna, the infrared sauna and the salt sauna.
In recent years it has found great response and hosts the hammam ritual; it is a treatment which provides a high humidity rate, sometimes equal to 100%.
For this reason, the materials used for its finishes must be mostly waterproof: ceramic, porcelain, granite. The Turkish bath usually consists of a prefabricated polystyrene module covered with cement and reinforced with glass fiber panels on all walls. The seats are in stone and maintain a temperature equal to 40 °, you can also lie down to enjoy relaxing massages.
The beneficial action of water was also known in Roman times, when citizens used to visit the spa during the "otium" moment.
Today, all spas have at least one hot tub useful for purifying the body, stimulating the metabolism and the circulatory system thanks to the action of the water which is distributed through jets containing air and ozone.
The hot tub looks like a unit that can be prefabricated or built on site in reinforced concrete. The latter is more resistant and more versatile and flexible to the spatial conformation of the environment in which it is placed.
The structure is equipped with whirlpool jets, filtration system, dosing system of the products used to disinfect and filter the water and lighting.
As for the nozzles, the treatment is differentiated according to them and for this purpose there are different types: straight jet, slow rotation and fast rotation nozzles. As for lighting, on the other hand, attention must be paid to the type, color and location of the light sources as they are able to recreate very different effects.
It is an innovative solution used for chromotherapy as it combines the action of water with color, light, aromas and sometimes sounds. Thanks to this functional mix, the five senses are simultaneously involved, guaranteeing all-round psycho-physical well-being. From a structural point of view, the shower can be made on site in reinforced concrete. or EPS with finishes in various materials. Then the hydraulic systems with temperature variation and the chromotherapy systems with colored LEDs and variable light intensity are inserted.
The path involves the transition from hot to cold water, stimulating the senses and ensuring benefits for circulation. It is possible to walk in rectangular basins arranged so as to recreate paths accessible by one person at a time. The floor is often equipped with rounded and pleasant to the touch stones that guarantee a sort of foot massage as the user passes by. At the end of the path there is a ladder to go up to the wellness center.


Relaxation is the element around which the entire organization of the Spa revolves, the ultimate goal of the design and the purpose for which the visitor visits the center.
The spaces must be conceived as places to find relief from daily efforts and for this reason real special environments are added to complete the wellness path. Studied in detail, thanks to lighting, design and layout choices, they fulfill the task of relaxing the mind and body of the user.
Made to measure, walls and ceiling covered with salt, the cave recreates an ideal microclimate, very similar to the marine one. Halotherapy, salt therapy, has gained wide acceptance in recent years and this is why it is always easier to find this type of environment in the city and enjoy its benefits. The temperature must be around 18 ° - 24 ° and the humidity must remain constant and equal to 50%.
The internal finishes are chosen with a view to recreating a real natural cave. Comfortable beds are also placed on which you can recline and relax enjoying the beneficial effects of salt and iodine.
Placed in a strategic position with respect to the wellness path, it is the space where you can refresh yourself on sun beds enjoying tea and purifying herbal teas. The choice of natural materials, refined finishes, the diffusion of restful lights and sounds is studied in order to guarantee the best well-being for the person. In the relaxation area it will be possible to find chaise longues, armchairs, beds and ottomans accompanied by shelves for light buffets.


Light is the basic element for the design of environments in which it is a prerogative to create environments that can excite and relax users. It is necessary to conceive the wellness center in its entirety, opting for a few light sources but strategically positioned rather than for many appliances that risk over-illuminating the environment. Impact element, although always linked to spatial functionality, the light must be calibrated and carefully chosen according to the purpose. For example, in the relaxation areas there must be no glare effect but a diffused, warm and ambient light.
Colors, on the other hand, will dominate emotional showers, areas where the light is directed towards the walls, creating suggestions and pleasant sensations. There is also a different need in the corridors and in the passages where the user must see well in order to orient himself without being dazzled. In this case, the step lights and wall recessed spotlights are perfect.
Today particular attention is given to the choice of devices designed for energy saving and consequently economic. Especially in the case of large structures that operate all day and sometimes even in the evening, it is important to opt for quality LEDs with lower consumption than traditional bulbs.


Like light, sound is a decisive element for the wellness experience.
Sound and silence alternate according to rhythmic and precise rhythms, during the relaxation path.
It is therefore essential, already at the preliminary stage, to take some precautions in the design choices that can ensure the acoustic comfort appropriate to the environment. In fact, there are many disturbing elements inside and outside the structure: the machinery, systems, external noise etc.
There are some construction solutions capable of absorbing noise and guaranteeing the acoustic quality of spaces:

-  Sound-absorbing panels inserted into the walls and false ceilings
-  Systems positioned far from the relaxation areas
-  Soundproofing systems to shield noise from outside

The careful analysis of noise pollution and its causes thus allows to counteract its harmful effect on the well-being of the person, thanks to the inclusion of measures designed to ensure sound insulation.
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