Located in the historic city of Lijiang (Unesco World Heritage), in the Yunnan province, the new flagship of Faas-Medical SPA is housed in a historic shell known for its traditional local architectural style. As a direct metaphor to its focus, the well-preserved building shell is anointed with an avant-garde interior design; creating a strong and stunning contrast and driving home the whole exercise.
Using the transforming element of the stem cell as a thematic for the concept design, organic elements are filtered into the interior, where they lose their actual definition becoming a grid of material and luminous connections.
Such dualism in a sort of space-time abstraction, in which the setting and all the furniture lose their connotation of medical and aseptic spaces and invaded by these new forms, become experiential.
The main hinge of the project is the fusion between medical function and SPA function, creating a comfortable setting for the guest and visitors, using textures and transparencies that give a peculiar movement to straight lines.
From the entrance window, visitors immediately notice a lattice element that strongly characterizes the space and hides, behind it, a staircase with a minimal look that leads to the services of the upper floor. The same pattern is then taken up in the reception area to conceal some existing pillars, camouflaging them with the rest of the rooms.
Light cuts across the space juxtaposed with the cellular network as the spaces appear to be nearly dematerialized and defined by new geometries, whereby the distinction between walls, floors, and ceiling is dissolved. Focusing on the fading of spaces and on unhinged geometry, the white painted surfaces are alternated with wood inserts and glass that presents material textures, adding vitality to the space.
On the upper level, the floor remains neutral without thread lights, while the walls and ceiling keep pace with the game of dematerialization, alternating the cut of lights to dark lines.
Architecturally, the building is extremely well-defined as a series of separate volumes, connected through shelters and terraces and superficially marked by partially windowed and covered wooden modules, typical of the traditional buildings of the area.
The existence of different volumes leads to an automatic space division according to the functionalities: reception/administration, laboratory of research, spaces reserved for staff and ambulatories on the ground floor, treatment cabins on the first floor. Natural elements such as dry gardens and water fountains create an aura of tranquility as glazed partitions create a seamless inside-outside connect.
This SPA can be considered as a holistic project, the source of two opposing but not necessarily alternative concepts: tradition and innovation. It is a combination borrowed from the Taoist culture: the desire to reaffirm the balance between Yin and Yang which, in China, is even more consolidated today.