Elemental Spa – the ritual architecture

The origin of water. Ritual as a source of archaic architecture, in which physicality and the experience of water are central. ELEMENTAL SPA. The latest interpretation of the topic “Ritual Architecture in the Bathroom”. For Dornbracht, ritual architecture is the result of a long-standing debate concerning cleansing and space, in which the individual stands at the centre of the architectonic design. The purely functional aspects of the bathroom are expanded around the dimension of human activities. The bathroom becomes an interface between the user and his/her rituals. After MEM, the “contemplative” bathroom for spiritual regeneration, and TARA LOGIC, the “active” bathroom, which sets the body at the center of the rituals, ELEMENTAL SPA is the third of Dornbracht’s ritual bathrooms. It’s theme is the archaic and the original: as an element, water changes its environment. It can render a location unique. ELEMENTAL SPA therefore puts water in the center of things, as the point from which everything originates. With space for personal and shared rituals for cleansing body and mind. Originality in perfection.

This elementary power of change, which is inherent to water, reflects the architecture of ELEMENTAL SPA designed by Mike Meiré – clear, cubic shapes as a projection screen of change, and materials which react directly or indirectly to contact with water. Thus each of the cleansing rituals leaves its own unique trace and constantly recalls the origin of everything: the source.
The fitting conceived and developed by Sieger Design abandons its role as a companion to the bathroom architecture and elements surrounding it. It becomes their initiator. It seeks the interfaces to wall, floor and ceiling and thus marks the water exit points, which form the starting point for the various ritual areas.

ELEMENTAL SPA makes the bathroom a refuge for the soul. A place in which the cleansing power of water brings body and mind into harmony. Every ritual activity has its own zone. Together these zones create a path of archaic rituals, at the end of which, cleansed inside and out, the person rediscovers themselves.

Cabinet: The prelude to each visit to the ELEMENTAL SPA. Here is where you arrive. Unwind. Cast the outside world aside and prepare yourself for your rituals.

Facewash: Here follows the conscious cleansing of face and hands. Everyday life slips slowly into the background. The first ritual is accomplished.

Cascade: You approach the element and see the first traces of the water on the copper-coated wall and floor slabs. The Cascade celebrates the natural experience of clear water falling down on the body.

Foot washing and Body cleansing: The place in the ELEMENTAL SPA, where the body is cleansed. This can be completely or partially, perhaps sometimes only the feet. Just as you would like it to be in that particular moment. Totally at peace. Sitting or standing. This ritual calms the mind and thus helps you become
ware of yourself.

Shower center: The shower revitalizes the body. The gentle rain that falls from above generates a feeling of lightness. The water carries all that is weighing down on you away with it.

Bathing: The whole person can be immersed in the deep copper tank. It lets you sink into the comforting, warm water. A ritual simply made for achieving a therapeutic effect, by adding essential oils and ingredients.

Heated block: The warm marble block completes the total relaxation after the bath. Without a towel the body can dry and rest totally naturally and in its own time, without losing its inner warmth.

Wooden bench and patio: The places of meditation. Where mind and body are brought into harmony.

Spill zone: No restrictions, no instructions. Water becomes the elixir – and thereby the meditative element.

Each of the six fittings in ELEMENTAL SPA has an individual name. They thereby receive a personal identity which does justice to their presence in the architecture. Special attention was given to ensuring that the sound and appearance of the name reflected not only its archaic, but also its ritual character.
For the washstand there are the ITA fittings (without Corian®) and IAM (with a Corian® cube). KATA and NOTA are bath fittings for wall-mounting and free-standing assembly respectively. The new material mix with Corian® was used for both. For the shower there are the SATI fittings for ceiling-mounting and the SANGHA fittings for wall-mounting, both using a Corian® cube.
All the fittings in ELEMENTAL SPA position the water exit points of the individual rituals and thereby create the starting point for the architecture that develops around them. The clear, cubic appearance of the fittings is continued in the architecture. The water leaves a trace on the used materials, which recall the natural spring as the origin. For this reason predominantly archaic materials were chosen, whose surfaces alter during use. Corten steel, copper and olive wood. These materials complement the modern appearing aesthetics of noble materials, such as marble, Corian® or mirror glass. By consciously alternating between archaic and contemporary materials, a lively contrast is achieved.

Corten steel: Corten steel distinguishes itself with a surface that is coated with a particularly thick iron oxide layer. Moistness thus gives the material a special individual, expressive patina. This simultaneously protects the steel from rusting. Hence, Corten steel is also used for highlighting effects in architecture and as a material in the artistic field. If the material is additionally provided with a copper alloy, as in certain areas of ELEMENTAL SPA, the traces of water can be emphasized even further. A topography of the individual cleansing rituals emerges through its use – elementary and modern.

Copper: Copper is a warm metal with various qualities and a particular vibrant effect. When combined with water, verdigris is formed, thus creating an optical impression all of its own. As a bathtub material, copper is furthermore said to bestow a therapeutic effect.

Marble: A noble material which nevertheless conveys naturalness. Cut out of a mountain in massive blocks. Through its heaviness, marble can generate a sense of unwinding.

Corian® : is a convincing option, due to its material properties: A stable and water-resistant material consisting of an acrylic-bound mineral, which combines endless design possibilities with an extremely long life cycle.

Olive wood: The furniture in the ELEMENTAL SPA is made from olive wood finished in a variety of shades. The slow grown hardwood distinguishes itself with particularly dense, insensitive pores. Olive wood radiates a natural warmth and has, moreover, a spiritual meaning in many cultural groups. Whilst all these materials are a homage to the archaic and to the original, ornaments may set certain counterpoints. High quality objects, which adopt the simple, linear, natural aspects of the bathroom architecture and materials, and radiate a discreet luxury.