Time to get playful

This period of great seriousness is depriving many people of the mental and physical health benefits of play, creativity and self-expression – something spas are ideally placed to deliver

Although many have drawn on their resilience to find light in the darkness, there’s no denying it’s been a serious, worrying, stressful and sometimes tragic time for the majority since 11 March 2020 – the day the World Health Organization declared the most serious global pandemic of the modern age.

As we approach the second anniversary, I’ve been reflecting on the bigger picture and talking to industry contacts, family and friends to try to establish what we’ve lost, what we’ve gained and where we’re heading.

What I’ve found is that for many, life is lacking sparkle and has become more limited, more routine and a little grey. It seems we’re missing playfulness, impulsiveness, spontaneity and the opportunity for the creative self-expression that, in part, defines who we are.

Most admit these are first world problems and are grateful to have weathered the storm so far, but it’s clear that the sparks of joy that can make life more meaningful and experiences more memorable, have been in short supply.

As we limp wearily towards the end of the pandemic, with experts predicting two more winters of disruption before things start to stablise in 2024, there will be a huge appetite among consumers for playful, joyful experiences.

As a result, we’re predicting that play and playfulness will become a major growth area for the spa and wellness industry and in our next Spa Business Foresight report – due out in 2022 – this will be our number one trend.

For children, play is an essential part of development and for adults, it allows the recapturing of that spirit, with huge benefits for mental and physical health.

Right on cue, wellness community Serenbe, which is always so skilful at capturing the Zeitgeist, has announced its next development will be based on play, creating opportunities for spontaneous fun through its masterplanning, architecture and programming.

In this issue of Spa Business, our editors have travelled the world to bring you insights into life-changing experiences and it’s notable that the most vivid involve uninhibited playfulness – whether it’s Andrew Gibson howling at the moon in Norway or Jane Kitchen playing with mud in Iceland. It’s clear that if you’re not already incorporating playfulness into your operation, it’s time to get creative and find ways to do so.

Liz Terry, Spa Business editorial director
[email protected]
company profile
Company profile: Polin Group
Market leader in design, manufacturing and installation of waterslides and water leisure developments.
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
Collaboration is at the heart of NBW’s working practices
Thomas Woltz
"I am very proud of stewarding the largest public space to be built in Manhattan in a century"

The Wall Street Journal’s Design Innovator of the Year on designing the gardens at Hudson Yards and looking to the Native Americans for ideas on how to create a resilient future

The book was published in 2019 by RIBA Publishing
Elina Grigoriou
"Temperature, noise level and colour affect our stress levels. As designers we should be asking ourselves, how do these things match up?"

The London-based interior designer and wellness expert hopes her new book will help readers understand how to design with wellbeing in mind

Last word: Tina Norden
Tina Norden
"We have created an approach which is playful, provocative but also functional"

Conran and Partners’ Tina Norden on playing with colour at Prague’s newly redesigned Hotel Maximilian

Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
To advertise in our catalogue gallery: call +44(0)1462 431385
Norman Foster and his team were responsible for the architecture and interior design
Dana Kalczak
"If we had focused entirely on high tech in the hotel, the artistry we normally strive for would have been compromised"

Four Seasons’ vice president of design speaks to CLAD about working with Norman Foster and creating magical moments

The exterior of the museum features a glass veil suspended by red columns, angled out over the street
Stephen Barrett (left) 
and John McElgunn (right) were both made partners at RSHP in 2016
"Leisure space – public space – is at the very root of democracy, and architecture is about democracy"

As RSHP completes its latest cultural project, we speak to two of its partners about why Richard Rogers isn’t leaving his succession to chance

Profile: Daan Roosegaarde
"I want to demonstrate that creativity is our true capital as humans "

Rather than feeling fearful and helpless about the future, we must design a way out of the environmental problems we have created, argues the innovative Dutch designer, artist and inventor Daan Roosegaarde

cladkit product news
Móz Designs columns anchor the world’s largest indoor aquarium
The design of the columns was inspired by the sea
Magali Robathan
After a two-year renovation, Oakland-based metal experts Móz Designs have unveiled their inclusion in Georgia Aquarium’s new shark gallery. Located ...
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 ...
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 ...
cladkit product news
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 ...
Diamond balloon concept merges tourist attraction with advertising billboard
Magali Robathan
A group of Dutch engineers have presented a new attractions concept that combines a flying observation cabin with LED digital ...
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 ...
Cosm unveils Experience Centre with ‘one of a kind’ LED dome
The new Experience Centre houses a 20m LED dome
Magali Robathan
Cosm, a global technology company that builds end-to-end solutions for immersive experiences, has unveiled its Experience Centre which houses a ...
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 ...