In the context of designing, cultural and historical backgrounds are two influential elements in creating a sensual experience for users of the space. Award-winning Hong Kong hospitality and architectural design firm AB Concept is no stranger to understanding this, as co-founder and director Ed Ng tells PerspectiveGlobal how his team’s creative design for the Spa at Mandarin Oriental Singapore continues this tradition.
Tell us about the setting of the spa.
It is located on the fifth floor, and adjacent to the hotel’s pool. The spa comprises six treatment rooms, including two luxurious couples’ suites. A separate mani-pedi section, a tea lounge and one-to-one ‘consultation pods’ enhance the sense of privacy. Providing unrivalled levels of comfort, the VIP treatment suite includes a couple’s vitality pool and luxurious steam shower in bamboo-styled marble.
What were the influences in terms of the design?
Our designs were influenced by Singapore’s architectural traditions and equatorial climate. We also wanted to create a tranquil sanctuary that evokes a sense of intimacy and indulgence.
How was local culture translated into the design language of the spa?
We reinterpreted aspects of traditional Chinese architecture, which include wooden shutters, timber walls and recessed ceilings, for a modern setting.
What are the features that speak for the past?
The lacquered panels and concealed lighting, crafted to resemble louvered shutters, line the walls, echoing classic 19th century designs and suffusing the interiors in a dreamy glow.
What about the notable motif design?
It is a recurring Celestial cloud silhouette, a traditional symbol in Chinese folklore that appears throughout the spa. Such layered graphics unify the design. The textured motif first appears as the iconic pattern on a 50mm thick frosted acrylic sliding-door entrances. Strikingly lit from below, the theme enhances the tranquil mood, creating an otherworldly, mystical setting.
It reappears in the reception area in a bold ceiling relief, its multiple layers lit from within. Bringing a symmetrical cohesion to the design, the pattern is reflected in the intricate mosaic floor pattern. The radiant, multi-layered graphic also features in wall sconces, ceiling reliefs and wall panels.
Please tell us about some of the major materials/finishes used in this interior.
We chose natural wood finishes and mosaic tiles to contrast with glass screens and mother-of-pearl accents, creating a delicate landscape of complementary textures.
For added depth and texture, we emboldened the palette with punches of purple and subtle gold accents.
What is the design statement you have created?
The Spa at Mandarin Oriental is a powerfully seductive destination experience. We’ve created a tranquil, stylish environment that features a contemporary design, an intimate setting and a genuine sense of place.