Body WRL, Wellness Centre

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Project Details:

Type: Healthcare Architecture| Refurbishment in Architecture

Architect: X+O

Location: Australia

Address: Rosebery, New South Wales, Australia

Program: Spa

Year: 2021

Area: 142 sq.m.

Photographer: Rohan Venn

A premium experience centre for a new cutting edge wellness and recovery brand. Offerings include state of the art equipment and treatments including cryotherapy, infra red saunas, oxygen and float tanks. Designed as a sanctuary for clients to rest, regain and restore balance, the space is located in a historical building in Rosebery, Sydney – ‘The Cannery’. 

The experience is designed to accommodate clients, with their journey beginning in the ‘lounge’ where they are greeted with refreshments and specialist staff. Inspired by the curves of the body and various skin textures, the architecture and finishes reflect this. Sustainability and inclusivity were key drivers of the design solutions, with the materials and accessibility carefully developed alongside consultants to achieve the outcome. 

The space has attracted numerous elite athletes and celebrities and resulted in outstanding KPI’s prior to official launch. BODY WRL is the first of many sites to come with a new flagship location currently under development.

Body WRL, Wellness Centre
Photograph © Rohan Venn

Brief

X+O were challenged with the brief to create a premium experience for a new wellness and recovery brand that offers state of the art equipment and treatments including cryotherapy, infra red saunas, oxygen and float tanks. A space for clients to rest, regain and restore balance. An environment that is high end, yet warm and welcoming and unlike other clinical wellness and recovery centres. 

X+O responded by creating a wellness sanctuary, facilitated by specialist staff. The space has attracted numerous elite athletes and celebrities and resulted in outstanding KPI’s prior to official launch. 

Working very carefully with the clients to understand the treatments on offer, as well as the demographic, X+O started by defining the customer journey to drive the design of the space. This process drove the site selection and after scouting several potential locations for the first Body WRL site, historic ‘The Cannery’ building was selected as the perfect reflection of the brand. The space was carefully zoned to include a lounge area on arrival with treatment rooms and amenities tucked behind in order to allow privacy visually and acoustically. 

Positioned as a premium brand, the entrance was designed to reflect this though materiality and experience alike. Meaningful and trusting relationships between clients and specialist staff drive repeat business and the lounge experience was designed to facilitate this. A space to relax, engage with highly knowledgeable specialist staff and other like minded individuals or retreat in a private O2 chair for a mind and body meditation, the space facilitates varying customer needs. Here, the traditional reception desk is replaced with a minimalistic ‘refreshments bar’ wrapped in oxidised brass creating a premium first impression upon entry – to reflect the brand positioning. A rounded lounge filled with soft cushions, invites clients to sit down and unwind before embarking on their journey.

Body WRL, Wellness Centre
Photograph © Rohan Venn
Body WRL, Wellness Centre
Photograph © Rohan Venn

The highly coveted cryotherapy chamber is purposefully located adjacent to the entrance to showcase the theatrical liquid nitrogen vapour escaping under the door – putting on a show for clients in the lounge for up-sell. Private treatment rooms are tucked behind a sweeping curved wall lined with led lights, gently guiding clients into the treatment zone. Curved walls, joinery and counters are featured throughout and are designed to mimic the contours of the human body, and strategically incorporated to create a sense of calmness, and good energy. 

X+O were inspired by the texture of different skin textures – smooth, dehydrated, dimpled. All of which are treated at Body WRL. This drove the selection of natural and sustainable materials which are incorporated throughout. Materials include a split-face travertine stone wall behind a striking custom made oxidized brass counter, and beech lined curved banquette lounge and solid timber stools which are machined from a single piece of urban salvaged solid timber. The walls are painted in a textured paint finish to create a sense of warmth. The architecture is carefully designed to be fully self supporting in order to respect the heritage structure of the historical Cannery building.

Experiential elements complement the architecture – such as the provision of luxury consumables and amenities. Activation of the senses for a holistic experience are incorporated via custom selected meditations, calm music, and burning candles.

BODY WRL is the first of many sites to come with a new flagship location currently under development.

Body WRL, Wellness Centre
Photograph © Rohan Venn

The project is unique because, unlike most wellness centres that focus on a specific type of treatment, such as cryotherapy or saunas or meditation, Body WRL offers the most cutting edge equipment in one location. This enabled X+O to think differently with design approach. Rather than creating a clinical ‘white’ space (like most cryotherapy centres) or a beige on beige space (like most wellness centres) both of which are cold and transactional, we were able to create a warm and inviting sanctuary to facilitate conversation, education, networking and meaningful relationships, to drive repeat business.

Sustainability Features

Sustainability was at the centre of every design decision. Where possible, X+O retained the existing structure of the building envelope to avoid wastage and overuse of materials, this included – floors, walls and ceilings. Materials were sourced locally where possible and energy efficient lighting principles were applied throughout with the assistance of lighting partners Australia. 

Natural and sustainable materials are incorporated throughout, including split-face travertine , beech timber, and solid timber stools machined from a single piece of urban salvaged solid timber.

Body WRL, Wellness Centre
Photograph © Rohan Venn
Body WRL, Wellness Centre
Photograph © Rohan Venn

Solutions

There were two key challenges. Firstly the heritage nature of the site. Secondly the restrictions in including all of the therapy equipment into the space.

The heritage site required very careful planning to ensure that the original features were celebrated and complemented in the design solution, and most importantly not obstructed. All of the walls and joinery were designed to be self supporting so that the heritage fabric of the building was not affected. The original ceiling, beams and brick walls were left exposed inside the space. The reception and waiting area are key areas in the experience, and this is where the original architectural elements were celebrated and hi-lighted with natural materials. 

The inclusion of a range of cutting edge equipment under one roof, was vital to the commercial success of the business. Therefore meticulous spatial planning was critical to make everything fit in whilst still offering an elevated experience. X+O carefully studied all of the equipment and each specific equipment requirement both from a layout perspective, as well as services (notably mechanical, hydraulic and electrical), and architectural requirements. The layout of each room was largely determined by access to services such access to ventilation for the cryotherapy machine. The rooms were each required to be grouped together according to their function for example recovery treatments vs aesthetic treatments and most importantly leaving enough circulation for differently-abled clients. An access consultant was engaged to assist with the spatial planning and to ensure an inclusive experience for all was achieved.

Body WRL, Wellness Centre
Photograph © Rohan Venn

Challenges

There were two key challenges. Firstly the heritage nature of the site. Secondly the restrictions in including all of the therapy equipment into the space.

The heritage site required very careful planning to ensure that the original features were celebrated and complemented in the design solution, and most importantly not obstructed. All of the walls and joinery were designed to be self supporting so that the heritage fabric of the building was not affected. The original ceiling, beams and brick walls were left exposed inside the space. The reception and waiting area are key areas in the experience, and this is where the original architectural elements were celebrated and hi-lighted with natural materials. 

The inclusion of a range of cutting equipment under one roof, was vital to the commercial success of the business. Therefore meticulous spatial planning was critical to make everything fit in whilst still offering an elevated experience. X+O needed to carefully study all of the equipment and each specific requirement both from a layout perspective, mechanical and power requirements, and architectural requirements such as waterproofing. The layout of each room was largely determined by access to services such access to ventilation for the cryotherapy machine. The rooms were each required to be grouped together according to their function for example recovery treatments vs aesthetic treatments and most importantly leaving enough circulation for accessibility. An access consultant was engaged to assist with the spatial planning and to ensure an inclusive experience for all was achieved.

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