The marriage of beauty and design is experiencing a renaissance in architecture circles, according to Julie Sinclair Eakin. In her book Salons and Spas: The Architecture of Beauty (Rockport Publishers, 2005), she examines this development by looking at spa and salon design. Eakin claims beauty is finding its way back into architecture as consumers increasingly demand design that enhances their life experiences. For them, beauty correlates to well-being. Eakin divides spaces of beauty into places of retreat and places of connection. She characterizes places of retreat as areas removed from the chaos of the world, with lower light levels and natural elements. These areas encourage introspection and often include a holistic approach to beauty. In contrast, Eakin says, areas of connection promote reaching out and sharing experiences, seeing and being seen. These spaces capitalize on their proximity to the urban environment and often offer cultural amenities such as Internet access, cafés, and on occasion, meeting space. The large, light spaces operate on the principle that having an expansive area makes its inhabitants feel more expansive inside. Eakin presents a variety of spas and salons from around the world that fit within these two divisions. By using photographs, floor plans and drawings, details of special features, and interviews with designers and architects, she examines how the design of these spaces capture the intended goal of beauty.
Above: The open flow of space at Qiora Store and Spa (New York City) invites exploration. Below left: A below-ground treatment room at Calmia Day Spa (London) is an urban retreat. Below right: Soft lighting warms the treatment rooms at Clear Spa & Salon (Toronto).