We believe wholeheartedly that spa design is a specialist area and many of our projects have taken several years to come to fruition. Southbank Place Health Club is undoubtedly one of our optimum pieces of design. Everything from the planning of the customer routes through to final detail of the design was meticulously considered to ensure that whatever experience the residents are looking for is delivered. For example, it’s always important for us to ensure that those seeking complete relaxation do not pass a high-energy space on their route to treatments, while a spin class room has the ability to increase the motivation through lighting levels and atmosphere.
As a practice, we were fortunate enough to be commissioned to design a complete building on the development; Belvedere Gardens, which encompassed all the amenity spaces, including a dedicated building spa in addition to the apartments and reception areas. The depth of this involvement gave us a greater understanding of the location of the project, the history of this part of London, the architecture and insights into the final residents of the buildings of Southbank Place. We drew on all of this knowledge, filtering in elements from the Festival of Britain which celebrated the ingenuity of British design and advances in science, looking to the future in the 1950’s and the brutalist architecture that followed such as the Hayward Gallery and the National Theatre. Layered onto this was the artistic and cultural sensibility of the area and an understanding that residents choosing to live here want to enjoy the best restaurants, shops and galleries of a fantastic international city.
Whilst we always strive to create a unique design language for each project, there are design principles which are common through several of our spa and wellness projects for hotels. We’re currently working on a top secret hotel spa and gym facility for a landmark luxury hotel which will be coming to London a few years from now. On a different but highly technical and detailed level we were very proud to deliver the Club and Championship dressing rooms for the All England Lawn and Tennis Club which is located under the eaves of Wimbledon’s Centre Court.
Key needs such as pools and heat experiences are consistent and proven wellness requirements. Rather than introducing multitudes of gimmicks which have limited appeal, we emphasise the importance of good quality sauna, steam and vitality pool experiences which appeal to residents and deliver a multitude of good reasons to visit the spa. We designed gym and studio spaces that have an ability to flex and adapt to new exercise trends, equipment is easy to change and things like air conditioning and lighting are key to delivering different levels of experience as well.
Absolutely, we tried to ensure that the spaces we created felt accessible to all and inclusive of a wide range of sensibilities. For example, in the ladies changing room, there is a full suite of heat experiences while the gentlemen have their own sauna. It provides the residents with some independent choices to deliver comfort of mind and body alike.
The treatment rooms are absolutely beautiful and cocooning. Their sense of comfort and serenity delivers the perfect environment to experience the full benefit of therapeutic treatments.
We did an initial feasibility piece of work to establish what types of facility would be valued by residents prior to fully planning the spa space. At that time, there were no residential projects in London that offered facilities on this level so we were drawn to comparisons with luxury hotel and spa facilities, looking at properties like Corinthia London and Mandarin Oriental which have exemplary spa facilities and where inclusions of beauty elements gave a real service to their guests. We also wanted to create a facility that really served the residents and additionally gave a sense of a community to Southbank Place and we recognised that there was a real connection between delivering this and providing a hair and beauty salon space.
The lighting installation above the entrance to the pool area is particularly special – there was a significant design development process involved in finessing each drop of the pendant. Each of the many elements evolved into a semi-frosted, semi-polished swirl of glass all suspended from a plate to create an undulating wave effect. We’re delighted with the unique piece it has evolved into.
Absolutely. Residents have increasingly high expectations and world-leading facilities such as this Southbank Place’s Health Club provide unique opportunities to enhance their lifestyle and wellbeing. The consideration of such amenities will be key for developments moving forward.
The private heat experiences within the male and female changing rooms is unexpected but allows residents to enjoy these therapies without the need to circulate onto the pool deck meaning, for example, a quick sauna after a gym session to ease tense muscles is much easier than they may have thought.
The consideration of all the senses is vital and one of the final pieces of the ambience of the space will be a signature aromatherapy scent which is currently being created. Powerful connections are created through the sense of smell and we envisage this will bring a sense of calm and reinvigoration to residents.
Q&A with Portia Fox
The One Casson Square penthouse interior by designer Portia Fox has been revealed, a space filled with bespoke furniture and captivating art. We meet with Portia to discuss her design.
In Memory of Michael Squire 1946 – 2023
Michael Squire, the founding partner of London-based architecture practice Squire & Partners, and the architect behind much of the masterplan for Southbank Place, died on Thursday May 4, 2023. Under Michael’s direction Squire & Partner’s has become one of the UK’s most respected architecture practices, winning a significant number of design awards, and establishing a reputation for beautiful, crafted buildings in sensitive urban locations, with Southbank Place standing proudly among them.
New Year’s Eve at Southbank Place
This year’s display above the river Thames has been hailed as one of London’s greatest fireworks extravaganzas of all time.
We watched on in awe from the Penthouse in Belvedere Gardens.