The Leisure Media Company Ltd
The Leisure Media Company Ltd
The Leisure Media Company Ltd

Wellness

Myths of monsters and men

Surrealist folk tales and moss-covered lava fields have inspired an Icelandic spa retreat that promises to take guests on a journey to enlightenment. Kim Megson highlights the details


Tales of trolls, elves, monsters and invisible men roaming Iceland’s majestic volcanic landscape have inspired the design of a proposed spa and wellness retreat located next to a geothermal lagoon.

Architecture practice Johannes Torpe Studio have drawn on the mysterious topography of caves, craters and moss-covered lava fields found in the Snæfellsness peninsula to devise a spa that will be immersed in mythology, storytelling and nature.

The region is home to a 700,000-year-old glacier-capped stratovolcano, which famously starred in Jules Verne’s 1864 science fiction classic Journey to the Centre of the Earth as the passageway into a subterranean world. It is also known from the Icelandic saga of Baroar Snæfellsas, a half-man–half-troll who left the chaotic world of men behind to live in solitude inside the glacier.

Now the volcano could provide the backdrop for The Red Mountain Resort, an 800sq m (8,600sq ft) spa retreat that will take guests on their own version of Baroar’s journey towards enlightenment.

Panoramic mountain and volcano views and vast grassy wetlands flowing with winding rivers will lead guests to the resort. Subtly camouflaged within the landscape, the red-hued hotel will “seem to magically appear just as they arrive.” A sense of surrealism familiar from Icelandic folk tales will be expressed through a series of subtle design features merging the earthly and the otherworldly.

Reflecting glass on the exterior of the main building will create a mirror effect, allowing it to disappear into the landscape, while portals and tunnels will be placed throughout the complex to enhance the feeling that guests are following in Baroar’s footsteps.

At the heart of the 150-bedroom resort will be an extensive spa, in which guests will voyage through a series of ‘emotional stages’, each of which will be articulated through different expressions of Icelandic nature, including wind tunnels, fire baths, rain curtains, ice pools and pitch black slides. “We want to create the illusion that guests are entering another world when they arrive at the resort,” says studio founder Johannes Torpe. “We have envisioned the Red Mountain Resort as a place that goes beyond traditional wellness and pampering, and dares to invite its guests to confront whatever is troubling them.”

A man-made 1,000sq m (10,700sq ft) geothermal lagoon is designed to look like a natural extension of the landscape and will feature shallow passages, rapids and still pools, with the water flowing into the reception of the hotel – blurring the line between outside and inside.

While still at the concept stage, Icelandic company Festir Ehf is currently doing geological checks and testing the nearby geothermal water.

The Spa Journey

Studio founder Johannes Torpe describes the spa experience

LOST - The steamroom’s foggy atmosphere represents the sense of being lost, and is a trigger for rediscovering oneself

Lost
Lost

CONTEMPLATIVE - Clay baths create an intimate, peaceful space for self-reflection and internal stillness in the contemplative area of the spa

Contemplative
Contemplative

EXPOSED - At the volcano fire bath, guests access an inner state of vulnerability and acceptance, stepping outside their comfort zones

Exposed
Exposed

CONFRONTED - The contrasting effect between light and dark encourages guests to overcome fear and creates a sense of intrigue and mystery

Confronted
Confronted

CLARITY - An open-roofed ice bath uses natural light to create a state of clarity. The contrast of going from hot to cold creates energy

Clarity
Clarity

ENLIGHTENED - The highly sensory experience of floating allows guests to lose touch with the physicality of their bodies and have a feeling of transcendence

Enlightened
Enlightened
Gallery
Click on an image to open the image gallery
company profile
Company profile: Barr + Wray Ltd
Founded in 1959, Barr + Wray is recognised as a world-leading provider of spa design, engineering and pool & spa equipment.
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
features
The colour palette and materials are inspired by nature
Joyce Wang’s Hong Kong and London practice has worked extensively with Mandarin Oriental
"Our brief was to create an exclusive suite dedicated to extravagant entertaining"

Designs the 'ultimate retreat for socialising'

The 2,000sq m Ayurah Wellness Centre fuses spiritual and medical care, with a range of medical 
and spa facilities
Kenzo Takada fashion designer
"Kenzo has created an unparalleled private island"

Designing interiors for a new Cambodian wellness retreat

Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
To advertise in our catalogue gallery: call +44(0)1462 431385
features
Shenzhen’s skyline has been completely transformed in the space of three decades
"When people came, they were surprised it was so raw"

The leisure projects transforming this fast-growing city

Work is due to start on the Hotel Valle Sagrado in Cuzco, Peru
Schreibeis Smith set up Vera Iconica Architecture in 2010
"Wellness is essentially an insurance policy to promote physical and mental long term health"

Raising the profile of wellness architecture

The tunnels burrow into the mountain
Richard Meier received his architectural training at Cornell University and set up his practice in 1963
"Developers today have no incentive to create public space"

The American modernist architect on his latest project and his love of the colour white

features
"Wellness embraces the entire holiday experience"

The design of the newly-opened Lefay Resort and Spa Dolomitti in Italy aims to celebrate and protect its spectacular surroundings

UNSense is developing hi-tech solutions
Ben van Berkel believes practices will all become ‘arch tech’ firms
"We’re living in the age of the iPhone, yet the architecture and construction industries are still in the Walkman phase"

On the launch of his tech startup

The Vo Trong Nghia-designed Roc Von restaurant opened in rural Vietnam earlier this year
The Vo Trong Nghia-designed Roc Von restaurant opened in rural Vietnam earlier this year
"Without green design we’re finished"

Pushing green design practices and caring for the natural world

cladkit product news
Ojmar introduces battery-free electronic locker to cut carbon footprints in health clubs and spas
Ojmar says the batteryless lock is easy to install and features a user-friendly interface
Megan Whitby
Smart lock manufacturer Ojmar has released the OTS20 Batteryless – the first battery-free electronic locker lock on the market. The ...
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 ...
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 ...
cladkit product news
CSI Design Expo Americas 2024 announces new Attractions & Entertainment Technology Zone
The event will allow buyers and suppliers to meet
Magali Robathan
Cruise Ship Interiors (CSI) invites cruise lines, shipyards, design studios, outfitters, and suppliers to take part in CSI Design Expo ...
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 ...
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
Eco Resort Network conference to convene in Mauritius this May
The event will be hosted in the Mauritius in 2024
Megan Whitby
Hospitality industry event Eco Resort Network is set to take place at the Ravenala Attitude Hotel, Turtle Bay, Mauritius, from ...
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 ...
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 ...
x
Email this to a friend or colleague
I am happy for Leisure Media to contact me occasionally by email and understand that I can opt out at any time.
Wellness: Myths of monsters and men
Explore the Icelandic spa retreat inspired by surrealist folk tales
The Leisure Media Company Ltd
The Leisure Media Company Ltd