Wellness design: Alberto Apostoli on the importance of expertise

By European Spa

By European Spa

22 December 2020

As part of a series of interviews, we asked three international designers what spas can do to make their existing wellness spaces more suitable for post-pandemic operations in 2021.

Here, Alberto Apostoli reveals that he believes successful spa designs will increasingly rely on the input of specialised architects and engineers, while the spa guest experience will be determined by how and when social distancing restrictions are eased. (Main pic: Portopiccolo Spa Sistiana in Italy)

Atrium Spa & Beauté, Mâcon, France

“Firstly, spas will have to do a complete check-up of their air ventilation plant, ensuring that it is easy to inspect and maintain. If possible, they should install automations for doors, taps and dryers. Guests should also be encouraged to use outdoor areas and I also believe the ‘cluster spa’ concept will become very popular, where guests can enjoy micro-spa experiences that share only a few common spaces.

“Social distancing and space division is perhaps the most challenging element to address as people are intrinsically sociable by nature. Spas may consider extending their opening hours, staggering entrance times or asking their guests to pre-book visits in their entirety.

Apostoli at Neró SPA in Montegrotto Terme, Italy

“If space allows, think about how your interior design, such as in relaxation rooms, could be reconfigured to ease the flow of guests. Also, private areas such as spa suites could help aid any lasting social distancing measures.”

Clarity and communication

“One of the most important elements of designing a trusted space in these new times is lighting design, as dark corners can make guests doubt cleanliness. A warm, inviting atmosphere must also be maintained throughout, and choosing light-coloured surfaces can help to achieve this and open up the space.

Alberto Apostoli’s wellness design takeaways

The great outdoors: Use as much of your spa’s external space as possible

The cluster concept: Try to provide a series of micro-spas that share only a few common spaces

Filter spaces: Offering guests a space in which to relax also allows for the sanitation of various areas

“If you are refurbishing your spa during an enforced closure period, ensure you have the right choice of materials and construction techniques for post-Covid-19 operation. I would, for example, avoid grouting floors. It would also be helpful to eliminate or coat any surfaces that are difficult to clean, and consider introducing beautiful screen dividers in your relaxation areas.

“Communicating with guests before, during and after their visit will become even more important than before. If your spa is located within a hotel, you could possibly ask guests to get dressed in their bedroom to avoid the changing areas.

About Alberto Apostoli

Practice: Studio Apostoli, Italy

Notable spa projects: Lefay Resort & Spa Dolomiti, Italy; Portopiccolo Spa, Italy; FAAS Medical Spa Lijiang, China; Atrium Spa & Beauté, France

Design ethos: Wellness-creating architecture

“A spa’s flow can be reappropriated through a combination of clear signage, which also provides reassurance for guests. I suggest a synoptic communication made of a mix of texts, drawings and colours. The most important thing to consider is that your signage is creative, almost fun. We shouldn’t make our guests think that they are in a clinical environment.”

An Apostoli concept design for Cipriani Spa in Milan, Italy

To find out more about the wellness design expertise and projects undertaken by Alberto Apostoli, click below

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