The hammam experience is an age-old ritual of cleansing and purification in a heated chamber that is becoming more accessible and appealing than ever. Today's hammams hearken back to the architectural marvels that flourished in European and Middle Eastern countries centuries ago. We caught up the couple designers responsible for a couple new hammams, at The Mansions at Acqualina and L’Atelier, to learn more about goes on behind the scenes to make these luxurious, relaxing spaces a reality.
The Mansions at Acqualina (Sunny Isles Beach, FL): Isabel Tragash, principal of STA Architectural Group
What are the key design elements of a hammam?
A: The architectural shape of the space is based on smooth forms and soft architectural layering. Three level step-ups clad in oversized heated marble slabs contour the semi-oval room. The Hammam features semi-vaulted ceiling clad in white stone mosaic, scalloped ceiling layers with soft light glowing between layers and walls all clad in the white marble slabs. The focal point of the Hammam is its large monolithic belly stone also referred to as navel stone. Clad in white marble slab and mosaics. This treatment stone is highlighted by the backdrop of the rare stone Corteccia, book matched to perfection. Corteccia stone is native of Romania; its uniqueness comes from its abundant content of minerals. Connected to the Hammam is an experience shower room, a controlled deluge of pulsating water jets from ceiling and walls.
What makes a hammam different from other spa wet areas?
A: The Hammam is distinguished from other wet areas by the immersion of hot air as opposed to moist air or vapor. Hammam also differs from other wet areas in that water may be used for exfoliating treatments as opposed to steam. The temperature is on average in a Hammam is 107 degrees F, while saunas and steam baths usually exceed this temperature.
What are the challenges in designing a hammam?
A:Hammams are not as prevalent in our culture, finding the expertise and fine tuning the details are the challenges.
Why do you think hammams are on the rise?
A: Hammam’s are on the rise in the US because many people look for rituals that will cleanse our bodies and relax our minds.
L'Atelier (Miami Beach, FL): Neil Zuleta, director interior architecture & design for HOLLY HUNT
What are the key design elements of L’Atelier’s Hammam?
A: L’Atelier’s Hammam Spa will be a private intimate space designed to accommodate two residents for a spiritual and immersive cleansing experience. The spa will boast two heated benches and two hand-held showers within a room encircled by soft rounded lines, all surrounding a water vessel as the central therapeutic element. The room will be a variety of blue, silver and gold color tones, constructed of alternating pure stone and mosaic tiles, composed of both stone and glass. The room will be designed with hombre-esque coloring, with the darkest blue coloring on the floor and as the room rises to the ceiling it gradually becomes lighter, alluding to a celestial-like experience, further communicated by indirect mood lighting resembling stars.
What are the challenges in designing a Hammam?
A: It is important with offering a Hammam Spa as an amenity to incorporate the traditional elements of a Hammam. While the Spa is co-ed, unlike traditional Hammam Spas, with the intimate setting and private two-person quarters, it will still encourage residents to practice traditional cleansing.
Why do you think Hammams are on the rise in residential developments?
A: A Hammam Spa is a place where you can relax and meditate, a place where you should feel secure and in touch with your own body and self. It is becoming a trend just like yoga and self-awareness are growing trends. It is increasingly important to create spaces that encourage self-reflection and mental health/well-being.”