Alberto Apostoli designs the Flagship of FAAS – Medical SPA, in Lijiang

19 November 2018 No Comments

Opened in China, in the historic city of Lijiang (Unesco World Heritage), the first medical SPA of the FAAS brand; an extremely advanced centre that focuses on the use of stem cells and an innovative anti-aging treatment package.

Lijiang is a city-prefecture, a World Heritage Site, located in the Yunnan province. Thanks to its beautiful sight and urban planning it has become, in recent years, a popular tourist destination. The city is characterized by buildings with a traditional local architectural style, bound by strict rules of preservation.

The work of safeguarding the historical shell building, in fact, was the starting point of the Studio Apostoli project, which wanted to create a strong contrast with the futuristic appearance and high tech interior design.

The project idea

To create there one concept, Studio Apostoli, began with the Mission of the brand, that is to offer an anti-age beauty treatment through various studies and researches about stem cells.

Such an avant-garde service proposed in a such historical location, has given birth to the desire of dare and to propose an extreme dualism, beginning from the image of the cell to end with a very pushed idea of interior design.

So we are talking about a cell stem as a transforming element, therefore, since it is able to assume the desired characteristics it gets part of a system that invades the existent spaces giving life to new tissue . From here it begins the idea of the concept design of the centre.

We imagined to drop elements from the organic shapes into spaces where they lose their definition becoming a grid of material and luminous connections.

A sort of space-time abstraction , in which the setting and the furniture lose their connotation of medical and aseptic spaces and invaded from these new forms, they become experiential, where the guest is projected not only into the future of cosmetic treatment but also in the casing of the service.

The hinge of the project is the fusion between medical function and SPA function, , creating a comfortable setting for the guest, through the use of textures and transparencies that gives movement to the strict lines due to the application of organic forms that provides a futuristic cut at the image of the centre.

The architectural Concept.

The project starts from an extremely defined connotation of the building , a series of separate volumes, connected through covers and terraces and superficially marked by partially windowed and covered wooden modules, typical of the traditional buildings of the area. The existence of different separate volumes has lead at an automatic space division according to the functionalities : reception/administration, laboratory of research , spaces reserved to the staff and ambulatories on the ground floor, treatments cabins on the first floor.

The building on the outside it shows a strong autochthonous connotation: severe and geometric spaces , although extremely material , interpenetration of architecture with natural elements such as dry gardens and water fountains , and all this is to generate a building that suggests right from the beginning strictness, functionality and tranquillity. The glazed partitions are built to create a connection between outside and inside.

The project of interior design is based on two fundamental elements, as we said before : the cell and the network of connections. These elements are incorporated in different expedients in all the spaces required by the project .

From the stained glass in the entrance you can notice right away a grid element that extremely characterizes the space and hides , at its back , we find stairs with a minimal look that leads to the services of the upper floor.  The same pattern is resumed in the reception area to hide some existent pillars, camouflaging them with the rest of the settings .

Already from the access area its evident and understandable which is the distinctive mark of the interior project: light cuts that twitches with each other repurposing the cellular network which was the base of our concept. The spaces appear to be nearly dematerialised and defined by new geometries , whereby the distinction between walls , floors and ceiling is dissolved, and they assume the meaning of different material inserts and “pools of lights” that spread on the same thread lights.

The interior design , it gradually reveals an entrance from outside directly to the structure, and it surprises for its complete differ from the external image of the building itself , generating a feeling of surprise in the guest,

connotating the space in an image extremely technologic and avant-garde, even with just simple machines and the use of few materials, without demotics use, focusing on the fading of spaces and on the unhinged geometry.
The white and rigorous painting is altered with wood inserts and a glass that presents material textures in the inside, giving life to movements and vitality at the space.

On the upper floor, its entirely dedicated to specific consultancies and treatment on patients , it preserved the same concept of the bottom floor, but slightly diluted in his own effect. The floor remains neutral without thread lights, while on the walls and ceiling it keeps the game of the dematerialisation, by alternating the cut of lights to dark lines.

In this case we wanted to give a major impact and elevate the medical aspect , instead of the playful one, unburdening the impact so immersive of the bright games that covers all the paths.

The architect Apostoli in his speech says : “ it’s a holistic project, source of two opposite concepts but not necessarily alternative : tradition and innovation. We are talking about a combination matured from the Taoist culture and from the desire to repeat the equilibrium between Yin and Yang which , in China, it still appears today even more consolidated.”