Contract - Of Sea and Stone: Chairama Spa, designed by Giancarlo Mazzanti and plan:b

design - features - hospitality design



Of Sea and Stone: Chairama Spa, designed by Giancarlo Mazzanti and plan:b

01 November, 2010

-By Stacy Straczynski


It’s not surprising that many spa designs feature a nature-inspired décor. Following the belief that true healing is an intrinsic process in part facilitated by the “healthiness” of the surrounding environment, spas tend to showcase a range of natural elements—including wood, tile, plant and water motifs, and other eco-friendly materials—to set the tone for relaxation. But seeing the same reinterpreted designs from spa to spa can get rather monotonous: Once you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all.

This is not the case for Chairama Spa in Bogota, Colombia, which is the country’s first hydrotherapy facility. Instead of traditional nature motifs, spa owners Claudia Elena Vásquez, Carlos Yaipén Loli, and Sergio Andres Avella Villegas shared a dream of building a spa that was a direct representation of their homeland. “We wanted to base the vision of the project’s image in a Colombian indigenous culture that was also fully functional and aesthetically pleasing,” says Loli, who always dreamt of being a successful entrepreneur.

Project designers Giancarlo Mazzanti, founder of Bogota, Colombia-based firm Giancarlo Mazzanti Architects, and Felipe Mesa, one of the original founders of architecture firm plan:b, based in Medellín, Colombia, collaborated with their team of designers to create a design that would not only serve the needs of the clients’ concept and focus on hydrotherapy treatment, but also one that boldly reflects the historical Colombian culture and surrounding landscapes.

Colombia’s Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta (Snowy Mountain Ridge of Saint Martha), a 10,500-mile expanse of mountain terrain along the Caribbean that is the world’s highest coastal range and Colombia’s largest natural resource, served as inspiration. The city of Chairama, known today as “Pueblito,” located in the Sierra’s hills was home to the indigenous Tairona, a civilization that based their cultural principles on understanding and respecting the surrounding natural and spiritual world via a principle known as “Yuluka,” the ideal state of “being agreed.”

The design of Chairama serves as a tribute to this natural biodiversity, boasting these principles from first glance. A double-skinned façade—concrete and glass on the interior and sheet metal on the exterior—presents the cubic building with a striking presence from the street. The laser-cut pattern of the sheet metal, designed by Juan David Diez, features an assortment of holes that mimic the varying layers found in natural stone formations and affords clouded glimpses into the spa from the street. “This texture is compressed or expanded to allow transparency or isolation and defines the visual and environmental exchanges with the outside,” says Mazzanti, who was responsible for Chairama’s exteriors. “The double skin allows intimacy without losing relationship with the outside and depth perception. It acts as a veil that covers the entertainment and sensory characteristics of a spa.”

Inside, Chairama’s four levels correspond with the thermal levels of the Sierra Nevada, according to Mesa. “The established norm applied in this type of construction was very complex. To solve this problem, we decided to leave the elevator and stairs area on one side and distribute the plans according to their respective activities,” he says.

The first floor comfortably houses the entry lobby, reception area, and spa store. Subtle graphics of local botanicals and wildlife are super-imposed on the walls in shades of grey and help to create a uniform look throughout the majority of the space. “The selection of materials and colors are closely related to water and land issues. Corresponding materials showcasing reflective surfaces and soft colors amplify the everyday interior situations: glass, epoxy floors, and ceramic veneers give unity and amplitude to the space,” Mesa says.
A quaint restaurant with a patio, adorned with natural vegetation walls, is set behind the spa on the ground level. White and blue dining chairs offer a stark contrast to the bold red tabletops and feature backs with cutout patterns that mimic the aesthetic of the building’s metal façade.

Green mosaic tile sets the tone for the nine massage rooms on the second floor, which are defined by brilliant glass wall elements and multiple doors for an inherent openness. Thin-planked wood floors provide warm texture underfoot, while inviting seating with botanical-themed upholstery offers a quiet place to await spa treatments.

The water therapy facilities that define Chairama’s signature treatments are located on the third floor. Characterized by a maple-hued wood deck, brightly woven lounge chairs, and blue-and-white tiled mosaic hydrotherapy pools, the room serves as a destination for relaxation and healing, with scenic views of the mountains to the east. Large, faucet-like spouts pour water into the massage pools, creating a waterfall-like scene, while light filters through the walls for a dazzling reflection of light off the water. The fourth floor features an open courtyard that links the yoga room to the cafeteria and again offers guests a breathtaking skyline view of the mountains.

“We were able to create a building that represented the proper image with the natural colors and materials that were desired. As such, the development of this project was a great experience in terms of design,” say Mesa and Mazzanti. “Our offices normally design public character projects, but in this case, it was a welcomed challenge to participate in a private project that represents a unique concept and function.”

who
Project: Spa Chairama. Owner: Chairama S.A. Architect: Mazzanti & Arquitectos, Giancarlo Mazzanti; Plan B Arquitectos, Felipe Mesa. Interior designer: Jimena Londoño, Jimena Londoño. Project Team: Jaime Borbon, Andres Sarmiento, Maria Fernanda Pizarro, Jorge Gomez, Ivanovha Benedetto, Juan Pablo Giraldo, Lucia Largo, Oscar Cano. Contractor: AES S.A. (Arturo España). Lighting: Maria Teresa Sierra. Engineering: Nicolas Parra. Graphics: Juan David Diez. Acoustician: Daniel Duplat. Photographer: Sergio Gomez.

what
Wallcoverings: Papel de Colgaduras. Ceiling, doors: Yebrail Chacon Window treatments: Ventanar. Workstations/seating: Jimena Londoño.

where
Location: Bogota, Colombia. Total floor area: 2,125sq. m. No. of floors: 4. Average floor size: 320 sq. m.



Of Sea and Stone: Chairama Spa, designed by Giancarlo Mazzanti and plan:b

01 November, 2010


Sergio Gomez

It’s not surprising that many spa designs feature a nature-inspired décor. Following the belief that true healing is an intrinsic process in part facilitated by the “healthiness” of the surrounding environment, spas tend to showcase a range of natural elements—including wood, tile, plant and water motifs, and other eco-friendly materials—to set the tone for relaxation. But seeing the same reinterpreted designs from spa to spa can get rather monotonous: Once you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all.

This is not the case for Chairama Spa in Bogota, Colombia, which is the country’s first hydrotherapy facility. Instead of traditional nature motifs, spa owners Claudia Elena Vásquez, Carlos Yaipén Loli, and Sergio Andres Avella Villegas shared a dream of building a spa that was a direct representation of their homeland. “We wanted to base the vision of the project’s image in a Colombian indigenous culture that was also fully functional and aesthetically pleasing,” says Loli, who always dreamt of being a successful entrepreneur.

Project designers Giancarlo Mazzanti, founder of Bogota, Colombia-based firm Giancarlo Mazzanti Architects, and Felipe Mesa, one of the original founders of architecture firm plan:b, based in Medellín, Colombia, collaborated with their team of designers to create a design that would not only serve the needs of the clients’ concept and focus on hydrotherapy treatment, but also one that boldly reflects the historical Colombian culture and surrounding landscapes.

Colombia’s Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta (Snowy Mountain Ridge of Saint Martha), a 10,500-mile expanse of mountain terrain along the Caribbean that is the world’s highest coastal range and Colombia’s largest natural resource, served as inspiration. The city of Chairama, known today as “Pueblito,” located in the Sierra’s hills was home to the indigenous Tairona, a civilization that based their cultural principles on understanding and respecting the surrounding natural and spiritual world via a principle known as “Yuluka,” the ideal state of “being agreed.”

The design of Chairama serves as a tribute to this natural biodiversity, boasting these principles from first glance. A double-skinned façade—concrete and glass on the interior and sheet metal on the exterior—presents the cubic building with a striking presence from the street. The laser-cut pattern of the sheet metal, designed by Juan David Diez, features an assortment of holes that mimic the varying layers found in natural stone formations and affords clouded glimpses into the spa from the street. “This texture is compressed or expanded to allow transparency or isolation and defines the visual and environmental exchanges with the outside,” says Mazzanti, who was responsible for Chairama’s exteriors. “The double skin allows intimacy without losing relationship with the outside and depth perception. It acts as a veil that covers the entertainment and sensory characteristics of a spa.”

Inside, Chairama’s four levels correspond with the thermal levels of the Sierra Nevada, according to Mesa. “The established norm applied in this type of construction was very complex. To solve this problem, we decided to leave the elevator and stairs area on one side and distribute the plans according to their respective activities,” he says.

The first floor comfortably houses the entry lobby, reception area, and spa store. Subtle graphics of local botanicals and wildlife are super-imposed on the walls in shades of grey and help to create a uniform look throughout the majority of the space. “The selection of materials and colors are closely related to water and land issues. Corresponding materials showcasing reflective surfaces and soft colors amplify the everyday interior situations: glass, epoxy floors, and ceramic veneers give unity and amplitude to the space,” Mesa says.
A quaint restaurant with a patio, adorned with natural vegetation walls, is set behind the spa on the ground level. White and blue dining chairs offer a stark contrast to the bold red tabletops and feature backs with cutout patterns that mimic the aesthetic of the building’s metal façade.

Green mosaic tile sets the tone for the nine massage rooms on the second floor, which are defined by brilliant glass wall elements and multiple doors for an inherent openness. Thin-planked wood floors provide warm texture underfoot, while inviting seating with botanical-themed upholstery offers a quiet place to await spa treatments.

The water therapy facilities that define Chairama’s signature treatments are located on the third floor. Characterized by a maple-hued wood deck, brightly woven lounge chairs, and blue-and-white tiled mosaic hydrotherapy pools, the room serves as a destination for relaxation and healing, with scenic views of the mountains to the east. Large, faucet-like spouts pour water into the massage pools, creating a waterfall-like scene, while light filters through the walls for a dazzling reflection of light off the water. The fourth floor features an open courtyard that links the yoga room to the cafeteria and again offers guests a breathtaking skyline view of the mountains.

“We were able to create a building that represented the proper image with the natural colors and materials that were desired. As such, the development of this project was a great experience in terms of design,” say Mesa and Mazzanti. “Our offices normally design public character projects, but in this case, it was a welcomed challenge to participate in a private project that represents a unique concept and function.”

who
Project: Spa Chairama. Owner: Chairama S.A. Architect: Mazzanti & Arquitectos, Giancarlo Mazzanti; Plan B Arquitectos, Felipe Mesa. Interior designer: Jimena Londoño, Jimena Londoño. Project Team: Jaime Borbon, Andres Sarmiento, Maria Fernanda Pizarro, Jorge Gomez, Ivanovha Benedetto, Juan Pablo Giraldo, Lucia Largo, Oscar Cano. Contractor: AES S.A. (Arturo España). Lighting: Maria Teresa Sierra. Engineering: Nicolas Parra. Graphics: Juan David Diez. Acoustician: Daniel Duplat. Photographer: Sergio Gomez.

what
Wallcoverings: Papel de Colgaduras. Ceiling, doors: Yebrail Chacon Window treatments: Ventanar. Workstations/seating: Jimena Londoño.

where
Location: Bogota, Colombia. Total floor area: 2,125sq. m. No. of floors: 4. Average floor size: 320 sq. m.
 


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