designstudio ltd channels Louis XVI’s Versailles to create AWAY Spa at the W Philadelphia
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designstudio ltd channels Louis XVI’s Versailles to create AWAY Spa at the W Philadelphia

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Sharilyn created an incredible space for guests to unwind and relax in one of the hippest hotels around

designstudio ltd has revealed the inspiration behind its recently unveiled project, the AWAY Spa at the W Philadelphia.

The 3,000sq ft spa is part of the 51-story dual-branded hotel in Philadelphia, billed as a love letter to Philadelphia.

“The AWAY Spa is a luxury wellness and beauty sanctuary and rounds out W Philadelphia’s offering to make the destination the ultimate urban retreat,” says Sharilyn Olson Rigdon, designstudio ltd principal and design lead.

“As a nod to the hedonistic nature of the spa, the design is inspired by Louis XVI’s Versailles and Sofia Coppola’s film of that period, Marie Antoinette.

“Scenes from the film as well as the actual palace inspired the colour palette and overall sense of joie de vivre within the spa,” she adds.

The design firm kitted out the spa with five pink-hued treatment rooms, two semi-private beauty pods, a retail space, nail stations, both male and female luxury changing rooms and mixed relaxation spaces – including a red velvet draped lounge space.

This is accompanied by an outdoor oasis complete with a pool, pool bar, fitness centre and rooftop garden.

Rigdon continued: “The outdoor area extends the wet deck concept of a French parterre garden, also inspired by Versailles and former US president Benjamin Franklin’s frequent visits there.”

designstudio ltd translated W's philosophy of cocktail culture through design, programming and FF&E to create a socially-oriented spa experience.

“The intimate nature of the spa is conducive to small groups and private parties,” explains Rigdon, “as the beauty bar also serves as a DJ stand for beauty and wellness events, as well as private parties plus couples’ rooms can accommodate friends or couples’ treatments.”

designstudio ltd also incorporated artwork by Marilyn Minter into the spa, having been inspired by her contemporary perspective on beauty and pleasure.

“AWAY Spa embraces Minter’s edgy take on indulgence with two large scale prints of her work that welcome the guest into the beauty zone and the chill lounge.”

Meanwhile, treatment room artwork was selected to echo indulgence with candy-coloured baroque fantasies by Chad Wys.

Supplied by Davines’ skincare brands, the spa menu features detox treatments, massages, facials, scrubs, wraps, lip treatments, men’s treatments and nail services.

Spa and wellness consultancy Blu Spas Inc had a hand in the project which included a technical review of design and equipment, as well as specifications for operational OS&E.

“A love letter to Philadelphia, the W Hotel takes its cues from the city of brotherly (and sisterly) love. Sharilyn created an incredible space for guests to unwind and relax in one of the hippest hotels around – we were thrilled to work with her team on this project,” said Cary Collier, Blu Spas co-principal.

The team worked alongside architect Cheryl Smith of Nelson Worldwide to bring the spa to life.

Universal Companies helped equip the spa with products by Living Earth Crafts, NILO, and Comphy.

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designstudio ltd has revealed the inspiration behind its recently unveiled project, the AWAY Spa at the W Philadelphia.
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JP Lennard
JP Lennard