Projects

Balnea SPA - Sassuolo (MO)

In search of the genius loci

MOSAICS AND EASTERN ATMOSPHERES IN THE BALNEA SENSORIAL, THERMAL AND BEAUTY CENTRE
Author
Carlo Paganelli
Architect
Grazia Franzoni
Surfaces
CASAMOOD
Year of completion
2007

The aim of the project for the new Centro Estetico Termale Sensoriale Balnea (Balnea Sensorial, Thermal and Beauty Centre) is to create emotional spaces that combine maximum functionality with exotic appeal and suffused eastern atmospheres. Built at the Terme della Salvarola in Sassuolo, part of the Emilia Romagna region’s network of spa resorts, Balnea is a highly sophisticated wellness centre offering health treatments based on iodine bromide water along with facilities for general fitness, optionally in the context of a short holiday. The centre is located on the site of the old thermal baths and is part of a spa complex that includes swimming pools, gyms and a range of other wellness facilities. The aim of the project is to design spaces for treatments that combine cutting-edge technologies with traditional techniques such as shiatsu and Ayurvedic remedies; the spaces feature natural stone paths and treatment systems with fruit essences such as cherry and grape vines. The principal task of the architect in this project was where possible to bring out the distinctive spirit of the place, the “genius loci”. In this case the centre’s prevalently longitudinal morphology with openings on just one side led to the idea of using the section with windows as a space for the equipped booths and relaxation areas. And if the distinctive “genius loci” does not emerge from the place itself, the architect can attempt to recreate it using both shapes and materials. For this purpose, the architect made use of ceramic wall coverings, choosing various colours of Vetro series mosaics from Casamood, a contemporary material with an ancient soul manufactured using cutting-edge technologies. “Their irregular surface and seductive, mysterious sheen enveloped the spaces like a precious warm fabric, making an essential contribution to well-being and sensoriality,” explained architect Grazia Franzoni. An important feature of the space is the use of water in two fountains, an element of purity whose continuous flow represents the renewal of the body’s fluids. In this respect the two fountains are the main focus of the thermal area, which is reached through an old dark carved wood door originating from India. The route begins in the area of the booths where the first gentle, preparatory treatments are performed and then continues into the more intimate, enclosed space devoted to more lengthy and complex procedures. Water is a constant presence throughout all the spaces and takes the form a small stream traversed by insubstantial glass bridges dotted with white pebbles that run along the booth side and brighten up the atmosphere with a vibrant, intensely coloured light. A meticulous sense of design brings together colours, perfumes and diffused music, creating rarefied atmospheres that promote deep relaxation and a profound sense of awareness.

Tiles
Casamood, Vetro Series
Type
other
Sizes
1.8x1.8 - 21x25 cm
Colours
tortora lux, moka lux, avorio lux, metalli oro
Technical characteristics
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): <0,5%
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): UA - ULA - UHA, GA - GLA - GHA
Resistance to deep abrasion (ISO 10545-6): <300 mm3
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): conforme
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): conforme
Slip resistance (DIN 51130): Class B
Crazing resistance (ISO 10545-11): conforme
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