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Aigai Spa by figueroa.arq located in Vila Madalena, São Paulo, Brazil | The Hardt
Aigai Spa by figueroa.arq located in Vila Madalena, São Paulo, Brazil. The Spa is designed as an urban oasis. A place of meditation, serenity, and relaxation. The construction of this place looks for a different universe spring, not necessarily in opposition to the “exterior universe”, but in search for an equilibrium and stillness, usually disregarded in the places we inhabit day-to-day. In the Roman mythology, Aigai was a kingdom of deep-sea, where Neptune, god of freshwater and the sea, restore his energies. It is a place where anything disturbs him and at the same time, he knows all that happens on the surface. Acqua Spanadae or Salut Per Aqua – It still remains uncertain the etymological origin of the word SPA. It is a fact that there is 5.000-year history very well recorded about our relationship with water in aquatic rituals of body treatment or spiritual purification. This history is inseparably linked with that in the Middle East, and since then is an important part of our relationship with nature in the pursuit of health, balance, and relaxation.
Like coins, there are two sides to this wall. The wall that closes is not only a defensive wall. If on the one hand, it may seem confrontation, it is purposeful to improve a strong and clear intention in relation with the city. On the other hand, it is a welcoming wall, of internal organization, of imperceptible subtlety from outside. Slightly raised from the ground, it takes advantage of the setting back imposed by the urban laws to provide a transition space between the collective and the individual, in view of the corner condition of the 720sqm original plot. The façade in concrete, finely textured, works as a mediating skin. It frames the wide ceramic tile panel and the large vertical garden. The large green wall around the corner, where it wraps and stretch to the other opposite side of the plot. The constructed surface area of 1.200sqm is distributed among the ground floor, the upper volume, and a semi-underground floor, where the garage and facilities rooms are placed. The Spa is accessed by a footbridge, which starts from the garden -of public use and reception-, cross a reflecting pool, and rises onto the platform developed beside the large ceramic tile panel. In the opposite corner, a glass door gives access to the reception room, where a small open-air patio with a reflecting pool covering all its extension, provides de necessary light to the room. Light dramatizes the beauty. Wind and rain enter the oasis and qualify the nuances of life. Architecture is a way through people could feel the nature. Pablo Neruda wrote about the poetics of the Patio “A patio is a wonderful place, where the Earth and the Sun meet at the midday”. José Luis Borges do it too: “Patio, the channel of sky… The patio is the slope down which the sky flows into the house”. What makes a patio a special place is an appropriate choice of is geometrical proportions and the integrating function for which it is conceived.
On the main floor, after crossing the customers changing rooms, there are the internal light patios, comfortable waiting and relaxation areas, with gardens and reflecting pools. In the largest of all the patios there is a big pool, a wide relaxing space, protected and shaded. In all, there are seven treatment rooms. Six of them in the ground floor and the other one in the upper floor (with separate entrance), where messages and special baths are offered. Also important for the treatments, the relation with the exterior and nature was possible in Aigai was made possible by the 12 designed patios. With reflecting pools and gardens, and the patio is like another. Usually, we forgive the perception that the sky is also nature. In metropolises like São Paulo could be the first and only relation that most people have daily with nature.
Photos by © Leonardo Finotti
Aesthetically and Geographically Related Projects:
- Horizon (2016) by VOIS Architects
- House for Installation (2014) by Jun Murata JAM
- Seascape Retreat by Pattersons
- Barcode House (2011) by David Jameson Architect
- Atelier-Bisque Doll (2009) by UID Architects