Spa people

Vo Trong Nghia

Founder, Vo Trong Nghia Architects

Architect Vo Trong Nghia is creating a floating bamboo spa on the Vietnamese island Phu Quoc.

The island, which is famous for its dense expanses of jungle, is a fitting location for Nghia who believes humans have become too disconnected from nature.

He says: “People think of human beings and nature as two separate things, but humans are just a small part of nature...

“In the very near future we have to become more green [in our design] – using things like green walls and roofs and environmental materials. Otherwise, we’ll all die very soon because of climate change, conflict and the misuse of technology.”

His latest project – Signature Spa – is part of a five-star hotel backed by the BIM Group, which is one of Vietnam’s leading private investment companies.

The main part of the spa comprises 12 arched bamboo podiums hovering above a small lake surrounded by mangrove trees, with glass walls providing views across the water. The podiums, which provide space for relaxation and consultation services, resemble hands clasped together and interwoven fingers. Where the frames meet, a skylight diffuses changing light into the space.

Two separate buildings house the treatment rooms and back of house facilities and are reached via a floating bridge

The combination of stone, glass and bamboo is designed to evoke “a reserved simplicity” and to reconnect visitors with nature.

The aim of the design is to provide a place of solace, where guests can immerse themselves in the lush mangrove reservoir while nestled inside the bamboo podiums.

Nghia adds: “With all our projects we look at the surrounding nature and see how we can harmonise with that. Spa buildings don’t have to be concrete, especially in tropical climates.”

A completion date for the project has not yet been released.

Nghia is best known for his intricate bamboo buildings. His work includes the Naman Retreat and Roc Von restaurant in Vietnam and a contribution to the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale – a meditation zone surrounded by plants.

He arrived at this nature-conscious mindset after taking up meditation. He and his staff meditate twice a day, and he’s attended five vipanassa courses, where you spend 10 days in silence and devote your time to meditation.

He says: “I think everyone – not only creative people – should refresh themselves in this way. It changes your way of observing the world and also changes your perspective.

Click on an image to open the image gallery
company profile
Company profile: Terres d' Afrique
Dr Stephan Helary created the company 10 years ago. He is committed to demonstrating the power of pure African botanicals and to partnering ethically with African producers.
Try cladmag for free!
Sign up with CLAD to receive our regular ezine, instant news alerts, free digital subscriptions to CLADweek, CLADmag and CLADbook and to request a free sample of the next issue of CLADmag.
sign up
The Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park project saw a drainage channel transformed into a naturalised river, attracting flora and fauna
"Because of the demand, they kept raising the hotel’s room rate, and people kept coming, so they raised it more"

The architects behind some of Singapore’s greenest buildings explain how urban density and nature can go hand in hand

Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
To advertise in our catalogue gallery: call +44(0)1462 431385
Mia Kyricos is senior vice president and global head of wellbeing for Hyatt Hotels Corporation
"We’re now smart enough to know that it’s the environments we choose to surround ourselves with that impact our health and wellness"

Home wellness is the future, says Hyatt’s global head of wellbeing

Ed Ng
"Of all hospitality design, we feel that F&B is the most fun. You can be creative and it’s where you get all the limelight"

When ABConcept’s co-founder got The brief for the Four Seasons’ Mei Ume restaurant, he jumped straight on the plane to London. He tells us why

CLAD people: Vincent Callebaut
"It’s about tracing the evolution of thermal practices"

Eco architect Vincent Callebaut has won a competition to redesign ancient thermal baths in the Savoyard town of Aix-les-Bains, France

cladkit product news
Alberto Apostoli and Newform collaborate to launch the A.Zeta showerhead
The showerhead offers two modes; rainfall or waterfall
Megan Whitby
Italian architect Alberto Apostoli has renewed his partnership with Newform – an Italian wellness company – and designed A.Zeta. A.Zeta ...
Siminetti unveils iridescent decorative panelling range inspired by plants
The Clematis design
Megan Whitby
The Botanicals is Siminetti’s newest Mother of Pearl decorative panelling collection, inspired by the distinctive patterns found in botany and ...
Koto Design introduces wood-fired hot tub
Koto is known for crafting modular, energy-neutral cabins and homes
Katie Barnes
A striking wood-fired hot tub has been unveiled by Koto, an architecture and design studio which has a passion for ...
cladkit product news
Jaffe Holden helps bring Academy Museum of Motion Pictures alive
Jaffe Holden provided architectural acoustics for the Academy Museum
Magali Robathan
Acoustical consulting firm Jaffe Holden provided architectural acoustics and audio/video design services for the recently opened Academy Museum of Motion ...
Mather & Co and ITV unite to create Coronation Street Experience
Mather & Co has transformed the visitor centre into the ultimate haven for ardent Coronation Street viewers
Magali Robathan
Experience designers, Mather & Co, have orchestrated a remarkable collaboration with ITV to unveil the new Coronation Street Experience, a ...
Alberto Apostoli designs tech-forward Wellness Therapy furniture collection for Varaschin
The furniture collection draws on absolute geometries, pure lines, neutral colours and strong references to nature
Megan Whitby
Furniture manufacturer Varaschin has unveiled the new Wellness Therapy range, designed by Italian spa and wellness architect and designer Alberto ...
cladkit product news
Fabio Alemanno Design uses elegant semi-precious stones to create memorable spa experiences
Alemanno believes the stones are well-placed in the spa environment thanks to their capacity to positively support physical and mental health
Megan Whitby
Fabio Alemanno Design has expanded its collection with semi-precious stones to enhance spas, wellness facilities, hotels and private residences. The ...
Codelocks develops new glass door smart lock
The new lock model allows facilities and building managers to create and manage access via an app or online portal
Megan Whitby
Codelocks has launched its first glass door smart lock to bring intelligent access control to modern spa, leisure, fitness and ...
Eden project uses drones to spell out climate change warning
Magali Robathan
Almost 300 drones were used to signal an environmental message above the Eden Project’s biomes, during the UN Climate Change ...