Innovation in Spa Architecture and Interiors

Eiffel Tower, Paris
Eiffel Tower, Paris

The annual Hotel & Spa Forum (Forum Hot Spa) will be held at the George V Four Seasons in the heart of Paris on June 19, 2014.


This is a meeting of thought leaders in the spa and wellness industry discussing innovation. I’ve been asked to speak on innovation related to spa and wellness design – architecture + interiors. I will present six innovative projects that have integrated “Evidence-Based Design,” sharing how to position a property within the current competitive marketplace by integrating distinct design characteristics that promote a positive guest experience and drive revenue.


Evidence-based design affects the quality of life for clients, practitioners, end users, and the owner’s financial bottom line. We will be discussing how to increase the wellness commitment while at the same time bringing financial return through innovative design and programming processes.


This wellness model has its foundation in this evidence-based design, which uses science as a more critical lens to evaluate the effectiveness of our design strategies that create a measurable difference. Including:


  • The Benefits of Natural light
  • How Nature promotes healing
  • Refreshed Clean Air Circulation
  • Improving the physical movement or visitor circulation
  • De-cluttering the mind and physical environment
  • Integrating unique site characteristics, history, and culture.


The projects to be discussed are:


  • Palm Integrated Health in St. Louis, Missouri

A patient’s perception of a clinical white box and an abundance of medical equipment suggests a sick environment or illness. We have designed an alternative to the overtly clinical model with nurturing interior that aid patients in their recovery time.

  • Jumeirah Talise Spa, Guangzhou, China
    Jumeirah Talise Spa, Guangzhou, China

    Jumeirah Talise Spa in Guangzhou, China

To mitigate China’s pollution problem, we designed a rock salt sauna with a water-based filtration system that improves respiratory illness.

  You reinforce the Mandarin Oriental brand and Miami site location with a signature guest experience.

  • Qalaalti Baku, Azerbaijan

Celebrating the uniqueness of the place, located on a steep mountainside, the resort is integrated within site with culturally driven hammam treatments.

Vdara is all about simplifying guest circulation, negating the usual stress guests experience on their journey to wellness and relaxation with innovative wayfinding devices.

A beautiful, bucolic, natural setting promotes healing and boosts recovery time. The design of our building is very ecologically sensitive, reinforcing sustainable health practices.


Many medical facilities are trying to find a remedy for “Sick Building Syndrome” – the psychological and physical relation to illness. Many spas are trying to bring a more serious level of evidence-based programs and treatments that provide a qualitative difference for their clients. These two industries have a lot to share and learn from each other. By integrating evidence-based design, they can both benefit by enhancing their client’s health benefit and improving their financial bottom line.


Robert Henry