Projects

Relais Sant'Uffizio Wellness & SPA - Cioccaro di Penango (AT)

The philosophy of wellness

A former monastery in the Langhe region of northern Italy houses a modern spa promoting mental and physical relaxation
Author
Elisa Montalti
Photos
Marco Casarola
Architect
Barbara Massa
Surfaces
CASAMOOD
Year of completion
2012

Located in the heart of the Monferrat area of northern Italy’s Piedmont region, the Locanda del Sant’Uffizio in the village of Cioccaro di Penango (Asti) was recently converted from a monastery to a prestigious spa resort as part of a meticulous restoration project. Originally owned by the court of the Inquisition under the direct dependency of the Roman Catholic Church, the monastery was dissolved by Napoleon and later returned to its original owners as a farm estate. In the 1980s it became one of the Piedmont region’s most prestigious gourmet venues.
The recent renovation project involved restoring the nineteenth-century frescoes, the Marian icons and the old monastic cells to create 41 spacious and splendidly appointed rooms and suites looking out over the beautiful countryside of the Langhe region. The orangery was also converted into an elegant restaurant serving local produce with access to the open wine cellar and the meticulously maintained eighteenth century Italian garden. The project also involved opening a new wellness centre called Spa Aquanatura. The name of the resort was consequently changed from Locanda del Sant’Uffizio to the more elaborate Relais Sant’Uffizio Wellness Hotel & Spa.
For the spa centre, architect Barbara Massa’s choice was based first and foremost on the location close to the existing hotel and looking out over the vineyards of Monferrato. The decision was taken to extend the new hotel wing towards the former Parco del Convento so as to create an orangery immersed in the surrounding countryside. The project also drew inspiration from the philosophy of mediaeval monasteries and of the three restorative functions of healing (through the use of medicinal plants), introspection (relaxation through meditation and the beneficial influence of the surrounding environment) and emotional well-being (generating positive emotions with mental and physical benefits).
The interior design project sought to create emotional spaces based on a skilful use of light, colour, materials and sound to achieve beneficial stimulation of all the senses.
The pool, maintained at a temperature of 34°C, is set underneath a magnificent central bleached chestnut wood roof and offers a view out through large windows onto the splendid surrounding countryside. The spa centre also features a wet area with sauna, a Mediterranean bath, a steam room, an ice fountain and experience showers, a massage & beauty area with four massage and treatment booths, a private spa with double bed with water mattress and double whirlpool, and relaxation areas with a fruit and herbal tea counter.
It has a number of areas that use warm colours and soft, indirect lighting to create a friendly and relaxing atmosphere. In other areas a more modern and hi-tech colour effect is used to stimulate the senses.
In the pool the Neutra ceramic tile collection was chosen in the colour white, together with Vetro Neutra mosaic version, also used in the shower zone and in the enclosures supplied by the company Starpool. The rest area features the Belgique collection inspired by the texture of oak, while the Unique collection from Rex used for the pool surround and the massage area is reminiscent of the essential qualities of terracotta.

Tiles
Casa dolce casa, Casamood
Type
porcelain stoneware
Sizes
60x120, 80x80, 20x120, 60x60
Colours
Neutra, Vetro Neutra, Belgique, Unique
Technical characteristics
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): conforme
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): conforme
Resistance to deep abrasion (ISO 10545-6): conforme
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): conforme
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): conforme
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): conforme
Slip resistance (DIN 51130): conforme
Thermal shock resistance (ISO 10545-9): conforme
Crazing resistance (ISO 10545-11): conforme
Linear thermal expansion (ISO 10545-8): conforme
Certifications and awards
LEED
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