Wellness in a sea cave
Astijus Taujanskas - Studio Dalis Erdves
Located at the southernmost tip of Lithuania, the city of Druskininkai is today an internationally famous leisure resort known for its spas, mud baths and thermal therapy. The abundance of water with varying degrees of mineralisation and a landscape consisting of forests and lakes uncontaminated by industrial activity or pollution has allowed this city to develop thermal facilities, spas and water parks and to concentrate on leisure and entertainment as its key business areas.
Splendid new wellness centres with a focus on climate, entertainment and thermal baths have developed in recent years, one example of which is the spa designed in 2007 by architect Astijus Taujanskas from the firm Dalis Erdves. Based on the concept of a sea cave that allows users to explore an exciting new world, the spa has a layout comprising an ellipse set into a more linear structure and surrounded on the remaining sides by dense woodland. A circular semi-ellipsoidal dome covers the water and relaxation areas, creating a volume that blends harmoniously into the natural surroundings. The internal space in the spa area is defined by the wooden structure, including the main beams, the secondary elements and the open bracing work, with the greatest useful internal height left at the centre.
Below the externally multicoloured dome, the main pool extends like a lake with a series of meanders and islands, its perimeter delineated by partitions, steps and seats and with whirlpool baths located at various points.
The free sides of the spa opening onto the adjoining woodland have glass panelling that runs up to the roof, which is symbolically raised from the ground and thus light and ethereal relative to the line of the land. Apart from this glass panelling which opens onto the exterior space and encloses the relaxation areas, the water spaces are modelled as smaller areas surrounded by theatrical style scenery. Here the natural light arrives from the side while the spaces are dominated by a baroque style and an artificial play of colours, shapes and figures.
Alongside the natural caves, there is a clearly perceptible reference to the tradition of artificial grottos and nymphaeums of Roman villas, devoted to leisure and furnished with groups of sculptures depicting mythological figures and scenes.
Nowhere in the spa are there sharp corners or 90° angles. All elements (the furnishings, the vertical partitions and the pools) have sinuous, continuously rounded spaces in a sequence of planes and surfaces that envelop and protect, as if water and nature had carved out this place and worn away the excessively geometrical parts to make them perfectly organic.
Authentic theatrical style sets inspired by the natural and marine worlds become backdrops; the islands at the centre of the pools, the columns, staircases and walls are enhanced by unusual figurative, geometric, floral or animal compositions reproduced by virtue of the flexibility of the monopressocottura ceramic mosaic from the Anthologhia collection by Appiani Create. The 300 square metres of settings use small sized mosaics (1.2×1.2 cm) to reproduce the designs, while the approximately 1,000 square metres of the pools use customised mixtures in a larger 2.5×2.5 cm size. The colour scheme chosen for the interiors uses softer hues for the pools and brighter and more lively colours for the backdrops and surrounding furnishing elements, in settings that combine art and technology, theatre scenery and the functions of a thermal spa.
Ceramica Appiani, Anthologhia series
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): <0,5%
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): GB min.
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): compliant
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): compliant
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): >55 N/mm2
Slip resistance (DIN 51130): R10
Thermal shock resistance (ISO 10545-9): compliant
Crazing resistance (ISO 10545-11): compliant
Linear thermal expansion (ISO 10545-8): compliant