A spa with a new, technical dimension
To fully appreciate projects like the Demjén spa complex, we need to take a journey in the multiple dimensions of time, space, culture and technology. Let’s start with the dimension of time.
Ever since the dawn of history, water has been essential to the evolution and health of vegetable, animal and human life forms. Man was quick to discover the benefits that water can confer through simple contact or immersion, and how it can help prevent disease and cure both physical and mental ailments. Various human civilisations have attributed almost divine regenerative powers to it, as demonstrated by the many myths handed down since time immemorial. It is no surprise, therefore, that spas, thermal resorts and Turkish baths, where water in one form or another is used to maintain and restore health and wellbeing, are common to many cultures. One of water’s many properties is its ability to absorb and conserve trace metals and transmit them to the human body.
Hungary certainly appreciates the health benefits of water: the country boasts almost 1,000 baths and spas. One of these is located in the town of Demjén, some 250 km from Budapest. The Demjén Cascade Cave and Adventure Spa is a charming health resort with 1500 square metres of baths, seven swimming pools and a cave system 760 metres long. The resort offers guests a complete range of traditional Hungarian spa treatments. While the offering is firmly based on local tradition, the spa’s architecture is inspired by the latest international trends in thermal bath design. The interior is characterised by rich mosaic decorations and contains areas offering all kinds of treatment, right down to chromotherapy.
So what exactly made all this possible? Nobody denies the value of water as an asset, but architects know it can also be a formidable enemy. One of its many properties is an incredible ability to penetrate and infiltrate the tiniest crevices — or even create new cracks — where nobody would have thought it remotely possible. When we enter a health centre or spa («Sanitas Per Acquam» in Latin means «Health By Water»), we obviously focus on enjoying the service, appreciating the relaxing environment and admiring the continuously new ways in which an increasingly tailor-made experience can be delivered. But our enjoyment, relaxation and wellbeing depend on technology and professionalism. Constant research is needed to develop new materials for humid and wet environments, and special design solutions are essential to guarantee the efficiency of baths, showers, saunas, Turkish baths and hydromassage tubs.
Mapei materials ensure efficient and long-lasting waterproofing — fundamental to the success of any establishment. Just as the Romans took their thermal bath technology to Hungary in ancient times, so Mapei offers its expertise and know-how today, replicating the ancient link between Hungary and Italy.
Mapei supplied application-specific products to ensure a professional finish in all areas of the Demjén spa, from thoroughfares like stairways and corridors to the treatment rooms themselves. Every area had its own unique requirements, of course, which had to be completely respected to ensure structural integrity as well as the wellbeing of users. Mapei supplied different products to the clients, Demjén Thermal Spa Ltd. and Konstrukció Invest Ltd., as the construction and refurbishment processes progressed.
First of all, MAPEQUICK AF 1000 was used for the preparation of new concrete, MAPEGROUT 430 and PLANITOP 400 for the repair of existing concrete structures and EPOJET epoxy resin for sealing cracks. Prior to the installation of covering materials, new surfaces were levelled using PLANITOP FAST 330 and ADESILEX P4 while existing cement-based substrates were consolidated with PROSFAS and primed with PRIMER G. The pools and baths were waterproofed with MAPELASTIC, MAPEBAND, MAPEGUM WPS and MAPELASTIC AQUADEFENSE. ELASTORAPID was then used to lay ceramic tiles and ceramic and glass mosaics in the pools and baths while KERAFLEX S1 was chosen to install ceramic coverings on pool edges and surrounds and in the various relaxation areas. KERAFLEX MAXI S1 (a product specific to the Hungarian market) was adopted to tile the spa’s cave complex. Bathroom floors were treated with ADESILEX P9 to ensure a non-slip finish.
The final touch in the tile installation process was the use of KERAPOXY CQ and MAPEGLITTER to grout the tile joints in the pools and ULTRACOLOR PLUS for joint grouting in all other areas.
The number and complexity of the various phases of waterproofing in a project of this size demand not only a wide range of architectural solutions and materials, but also total respect for material working times and thorough, accurate planning to ensure the repeatability of jobs according to best practices.