SENSASIA Stories is a flagship destination spa committed to total body wellness and is located within the Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates in Dubai. The company’s founder Salina Handa and Majid Al Futtaim group enlisted the design skills of Roar Studio who brought together a unique direction for the project, combining Pan Asian architecture with natural materials, a beautifully muted colour palette and different textures, resulting in a 4,000 sq.ft calming, and deeply enticing, tranquil space for visitors.
The interior space was built around the idea of taking guests to the spa on a unique journey through the senses of Asia. Pallavi Dean, Founder and Creative Director of Roar explains this concept further: “The design process for SENSASIA Stories was an exercise in restraint for me. We have purposefully not overpowered the senses; instead this is a place of quiet, respite and reflection. The interior scheme – dark and light hues of grey, complemented by a warm wood finish and strong stone slabs – allows one to just ‘be’. We played with just three main materials and colours. Grey stone and slate, brown tones within the luxury vinyl flooring, natural textures such as wallpaper with hessian finishes. The interior design revolves around the material palette – it’s layered with textures. This helps with the acoustics as well as tactility: the touch and feel; it’s a space designed for all senses.”
The interior’s concept naturally grew from SENSASIA’s Pan-Asian origins, touching on the traditional architectural elements from the region, while Roar Studio also applied a sleek, modern twist to the resulting finish.
“We cast the net wide to understand the architecture of the region looking at countries such as Thailand, Bali and Vietnam for inspiration. Arches kept appearing in our research as key features of this architectural typology, and it soon became apparent that this shape would influence our design. We have used large, illuminated arches above the male and female lobbies and incorporated arch-like decorative elements around the reception area’s shelving to compose a dramatic, theatrical effect. Another important architectural statement is the parametric form of the spa frontage. The spa is unusual in that it has two entrances: one from the hotel, the other from the mall, and this piece was designed to draw passing shoppers in.” Pallavi Dean of Roar Studios
The spa is a hub of relaxing experiences for the client, eight treatment rooms (the original number of four boosted by Roar to maximise revenue per square foot) are elegantly organised around a central courtyard. While elsewhere, bespoke facilities beckon in the form of experience showers, an ice fountain, herb saunas, steam rooms, a Jacuzzi and virtual reality headsets. These aforementioned headsets can be cleverly incorporated into treatments to offer a complete, and rather original form of escapism.
The lack of light was a challenge Roar Studios successfully overcame by collaborating with a dedicated lighting consultant. “As well as giving the space the right amount and type of illumination, we also experimented with lighting to create a dramatic effect: for example, adding the strip LED lights to the arches is a signature moment. We also celebrated the ceilings; they are often neglected but in a spa, clients spend a lot of time on their backs! So we clad the ceiling with a captivating bronze mesh structure. Each room has a unique pattern creating a new experience for every visit to the spa,” explains Pallavi Dean.
The project, SENSASIA Stories Spa was conceptualised by SENSASIA’s parent company and creative consultancy, THE SPA PEOPLE and based on the collective objective of Majid Al Futtaim and Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates.
For further information regarding Pallavi Dean, head to the Roar Studio website.
Discover more about SENSASIA Stories Spa, Dubai.
Photography: The Oculis Project
Interior Design: Roar Studio
Project Team: Bond Interiors Contracting
Designers: Pallavi Dean, Ana Carreras, Luisa Bresolin
Materials and Finishes: flooring by Bolon; wall textured paint by Artemis; wallpaper by Maya Romanoff; fabrics and upholstery by Carniege; mesh glass by Mirodec
Sanitaryware: Gessi and Bagno