The New Design Language of Wellness

On March 22, 2016, the Washington Spa Alliance held its 6th Annual Symposium in Washington, DC. The subject of the symposium was The New Language of Spa, and I was a featured speaker on the topic of The New Design Language of Wellness.


The video below contains excerpts from that speech covering a brief history of the spa business since 1990.  At that time, building bigger and better was the rule for success!  The downside was that spas lost touch with our core client base, and therapist burnout was becoming an issue.  Since then, we have made a shift away from that ethos and are looking toward a holistic approach, serving a more inclusive guest roster.  Inclusive vs. an exclusive client base, where wellness benefits a larger audience.  Our projects pioneer many of the industry’s emerging trends.

Consider Palm Integrative Health, located in St. Louis, Missouri, and conceived by Dr. Lauren Munsch – Del Farra, whose mission was to “integrate both physical and mental health.”  Her new client’s first step begins with a life-coaching consultation allowing the coach to tailor an individual program including exercise, nutrition, rejuvenation, overall well-being, and a truly balanced approach to pro-active health.  Her facility contains a cryo-sauna and an infra-red salt inhalation room for thermal treatments.

Palm contains a nutritious Café with crafted meals, a relaxing spa, and a yoga regimen and aerobic classes. Clients can receive their yearly check-up, including a full blood work-up with in-depth diagnostics, work out, or enjoy a host of spa treatments.

The comprehensive programs act as individual spokes that plug into a central garden atrium, which is our design concept.  Integrating the physical, psychological, nutrition, fitness and diagnostic elements around a central gathering space further animates the facility.

The video briefly covers Palm Integrative Health along with many of our “wellness” design initiatives recently completed or are currently on the boards at our design studio.


WeWork Wellness – New York City

Palm Integrative Health – St Louis, MO

Jumeirah Hotel –  Guangzhou, China

Governors IslandNew York, NY

The Spa by Ivanka TrumpWashington, DC


All of these projects prove that Design plus Wellness Equals Profit. I hope you enjoy the video.