Posts tagged with "Spa":

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The future of healing is probably virtual

I was sitting in a hot tub wearing VR goggles and rubber gloves, making swimming strokes with my hands, when a professor walked by, laughed, and waved hello. It may have seemed like some sort of goofy art project where all interested parties were having light-hearted fun, but in actuality, we were experimenting with something quite serious: the future of healing. I was testing CLOUD+ Labs, an immersive installation that combines the experience of VR with physical bathing rituals. Visitors to the spa put on headsets and relax in a jacuzzi hot tub in order to experience a virtual, cave-like spa-world, while a Siri-like voice gives them a guided meditation and psychic reading—based on their Google search history. The “individualized internet guided healing sessions” are a project by Leah Wulfman, a student in the Fiction and Entertainment program at the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) in Downtown Los Angeles. Here, architecture is not necessarily a formal endeavor, nor one that is expressed in plan, section, and models. Rather, architecture—whatever that means—is  invented as a relatively small part of a flattened cultural landscape where seeing and living are projected through the creation of new worlds via filmmaking. CLOUD+ Labs is built like a wellness center, complete with receptionist, changing area, robes, bathing suits, and treatment areas. Here, rather than drinking the latest adaptogen blends and doing pilates, the drink of choice is CLOUD+, “Water enhanced physically and spiritually by our data…highly customized and harmonized to your individual internet activity.” https://vimeo.com/291617383 This drink is a metaphor for the script Wulfman wrote, which scrapes Google search data—you have to give her your email and password (!)—and gives you a reading of your past, present, and future. The ritual is based on the Korean spa, where bathing is an indulgent and relaxing activity. In this virtualized version, the internet search history not only fills in for the human psychic, it also adds a layer of meditative reflection. The fictional water brand and spa are slickly branded using the rhetoric of technology and wellness. From the project description:
Following this release of customized products, the CLOUD+ LABS are preparing to open a CLOUD+ enhanced water treatment center. Assembling new purification rituals for the digital age, CLOUD+ LABS allow guests to soak, regenerate and cleanse themselves and their smart devices in data enhanced water. Connect to reconnect. The CLOUD+ wellness guide supports improved, intentional connection to achieve holistic self awareness and restoration.
According to Wulfman, “The piece edges you towards oneness with the internet and your digital identity, while allowing you to recognize and reflect on the process through which this identity is formed in the first place.” Custom scripts using Google’s API mine the entirety of the user’s search history, upload it, and scan it for certain patterns that might lead to conclusions about the user, albeit quite vague, like a real psychic’s musings. This ambiguity leads to more opportunity for reflection and interpretation. One user left a review on the real feedback page on cloudpluslabs.booksy.com, completing the experience of CLOUD+ Labs. It is all very “real,” even if it feels virtual. Is it the future of healing? For some, it probably actually is. https://vimeo.com/291224792
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A theme park inside a 2,000-year-old Transylvanian salt mine is like playing on another planet

Each year, thousands of visitors descend into Salina Turda, a Transylvanian salt mine dating over 2,000 years. In its lifetime the salt mine has had many uses, storing the coffers of Hungarian kings and Habsburg emperors, providing shelter during World War II, and even operating as a cheese storage center. In 1992, Salina Turda reopened as a visitor attraction, and after 16 years and $6.5 million of investments, has transformed into a museum and theme park. British photographer Richard John Seymour, documented this subterranean destination. Salt Mine Bridge. (Courtesy Richard John Seymour) Salina Turda's attractions include ferris wheels, spa treatment facilities, recreational sports, boat tours, and an 80-seat amphitheater, all backdropped with stalactites and salt formations, captured in Seymour's photographs. In the chambers, visitors inhale the salt mine's purifying air, and spa guests are treated with halotherapy. Salina Turda’s biggest mine is the bell-shaped Theresa, reaching approximately 300 feet and containing a salted lake. As Seymour's photographs show, the theme park provides small boat tours of the meteoric waters. https://vimeo.com/57143945 Seymour said, "I am often drawn to contradiction in my work, where the heroic, idealistic, or epic meets mundane reality. Salina Turda embodies this idea particularly well. It is an undeniably beautiful historic monument of engineering and human endeavor, but it is now used as a theme park with ping pong tables, bowling, and boat rides." Richard John Seymour's photographs will be on exhibition at the London Art Fair from January 20–24. For more of Richard John Seymour work visit his website here.
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Ever swum in a cenote? Grand Hyatt spa designed by Rockwell Group inspired by freshwater swimming holes

While cave-like spa experiences aren’t all that novel, the Cenote Spa at newly opened Grand Hyatt Playa del Carmen on the Riviera Mexico is inspired by the eponymous, naturally-occurring freshwater swimming hole. Cenotes are unique geological formations from the Yucatan peninsula. They look like hot springs but are often the surface manifestations of extensive underwater cave systems, and are considered by many to be energy centers because of their high concentrations of minerals and nutrients. The spa features eight treatment rooms, two double suites and an 82-foot lap pool, while the resort architecture itself is billed “a unique fusion of sleek and contemporary design aesthetics blended with Mayan-inspired elements...that pay tribute to the local surroundings.” The 6,000 square-foot spa facility and cenote were designed by Sordo Madaleno Architects and New York–based design and architecture practice Rockwell Group. A hydrotherapy area and fitness center complement the spa and beauty services on offer, such as the locally-inspired Mayan head massage with cocoa and tequila oils and hot stone massage using Mexican opal. Expect customized scents, a personalized consultation, and a detox juice upon arrival. Facing the opulent waters of the Mexican Caribbean and set on the white sands of Mamitas Beach, the “urban beach hotel” assumes a V shape to reduce its environmental footprint, while a mangrove jungle nestles within the grounds as a wildlife sanctuary. The hotel’s much vaunted Air Suites are elevated over the beachfront of the Caribbean sea, offering unimpeded views of the horizon and incredible sunsets.
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Preservationists taken by surprise as demolition begins on Wexler’s Palm Springs Spa Hotel

As preservationists steam, demolition teams working in the desert heat have begun to tear down Donald Wexler's famed Spa Hotel in downtown Palm Springs. The hotel was closed in early June by its owners, the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians.  To add insult to injury, the demolition has begun with the hotel's most famous element: it's elegant, concrete-vaulted colonnade. "We are outraged and upset. We've been trying to provide information to the tribe on how this hotel could be successfully restored and renovated. They mention communication about everything. But it wasn't until I drove by that we saw that the demolition had started," Palm Springs Modern Committee (PS MODCOM) Executive Director Nickie McLaughlin told AN.   The Spa Bathhouse and Hotel, acknowledged as one of the city's most significant buildings, was designed in 1955 by a collaboration of elite Palm Springs architects including not just Wexler, but William Cody, Richard Harrison, and Phillip Koenig. McLaughlin confirmed that the colonnade's destruction had been completed on September 3. McLaughlin said PS MODCOM had been talking with Agua Caliente since July 14, and were given the impression that the tribe had no plans on the table for immediate demolition. The assumed lack of plans also allowed the tribe to circumvent CEQA rules, she said. According to the Desert Sun, because the demolition takes place on tribal land it is a "tribal action," and not subject to any state or federal environmental protections. "I think they're not true to their word and I think this is a very poor display of how they operate," said McLaughlin, who added that PS MODCOM and the tribe had discussed the possibility of restoring the existing building (with the tribe receiving various tax credits) and constructing new facilities to the north. Another organization, the Palm Springs Preservation Foundation, encouraged members and interested parties to send over 1,000 letters to the tribe urging them to reconsider the demolition. "It’s really nauseating," said Wexler's son Brian Wexler. "It’s so disappointing that one of the most iconic structures of Palm Springs has been lost." He said his brother Gary was driving by when demolition started and sounded the alarm. It is unclear what Agua Caliente plans to build on the site. At this point calls to the tribe had not been returned. "We are in the planning stages of creating a vision for this key location in downtown Palm Springs," Agua Caliente Tribal Chairman Jeff L. Grubbe said, in a statement. "Our next steps include demolition of existing structures as well as taking the necessary steps to protect and preserve the hot mineral spring."
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Fontainebleau Anew

Morris Lapidus' Fontainebleau in Miami is one of the most recognizable hotels in the United States, thanks in no small part to its frequent appearances in television shows and films, perhaps most notably and intimately in the 1964 James Bond movie Goldfinger. A recent two-year revitalization has brought the old bastion of luxury and class—which had begun to show its wear—back to prime condition. More than just polish up the surfaces, the effort included the addition of a free-standing spa. The designers, Dallas-based architectural firm HKS, selected a blue tinted glass for the spa's curtain wall. In addition to referencing the adjacent pool's azure complexion, the glass (1 5/16-inch thick Viracon laminated units with a Vanceva Storm interlayer) meets Miami's strict large missile impact and hurricane codes. Goldfinger would be proud.