Floating Realities, a spa in Geneva designed by BUREAU

BUREAU (Daniel Zamarbide, Carine Pimenta and Galliane Zamarbide),

Dylan Perrenoud,

Geneva, Switzerland,

Health & Wellness,

Interior Design,

Architectural practice BUREAU renewed a spa in Geneva. The studio approached the idea of psychological and physical wellness on the basis of the experience of floating in water, in a state of fluid suspension. To make the most of the relaxing experience of the spa, the architects have designed a world dominated by pastel colours.

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Floating Realities, a spa in Geneva designed by BUREAU 
The wellness trends offered in today’s spas include “Floating”: a natural relaxation method based on the simple principle of lying in a tank of water at body temperature with the addition of Epsom salts, that is, magnesium sulphate heptahydrate, a natural mineral that promotes relaxation and reduces swelling. The experience of floating in the tank in a suspended state offers a natural antidote to the frantic pace of our stressful world.
A spa in Geneva redesigned its interiors to offer guests a truly unique experience augmenting the benefits of this treatment.
The proprietors of ORIGIN contacted BUREAU, the architectural studio run by Daniel Zamarbide, Carine Pimenta and Galliane Zamarbide, who responded to the request with their characteristic enthusiasm.
The most striking feature of the project is its colour palette. We all know that pastel colours have a beneficial influence on our perception, and a place for relaxation and regeneration like a spa is perfect for subtle, calm colours, amplifying their effects with a sheltered environment. 
And so the architects of BUREAU contacted Iranian visual artist Shirana Shahbazi, who lives in Zurich, whose internationally renowned conceptual artworks based on photographs are classified as minimalist in the postmodern visual arts. 
Architect Daniel Zamarbide finds in Shabazi’s images “journeys through sensations, lived realities, precise moments but also unprecise relations, liquid ones, without the need to explain, certainly with the impossibility to explain all of it”. There is no need for explanation, as the images evoke sensations and create truly personal experiences: exactly the goal BUREAU pursues in the interior design of the spa, to make time spent there truly special.
The interior design project is based on a gradual sequence, introducing the client to a space “ that proposes an insular pause, outside of everything but in a strong interiority”, as the architects say.
As we enter the spa, we pass into a magical world in slow motion, approaching the flotation tank step by step in a transition marked by curtains, rails, vertical lines, horizontal surfaces, shelves, long chairs and lines, in which the grid of the tiles serves as a guiding measure. Everything contributes to creation of frames of perception which are altered by patches of pastel colour, creating the impression that we are leaving everything behind and passing into another world. Just what we need to augment the effects of the treatment!
But BUREAU, true to the studio’s vocation, introduces elements of disturbance into this parallel universe measuring only 190 square metres. Within this rather abstract journey we find a series of figurative elements perturbing its possible purity or integral coherence. Benches, an "objet-trouvé" from the early 20th-century urban park tradition, add a playful surrealist touch to this space for relaxation, creating a truly memorable experience.

Christiane Bürklein

Project: BUREAU
Location: Geneva, Switzerland
Year: 2020
Images: Dylan Perrenoud 


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