Beside the functional high-end equipment, soft factors such as greenery, light and acoustics play a significant role in creating the perfect environment for maximum well-being for all the senses. The interior design and architects' office Schienbein+Pier GbR from Stuttgart is specialised in the planning and construction of wellness spas.
In the interview, Managing Director René Pier speaks about new developments.
© MESSE STUTTGART
Mr Pier, what trends characterise the wellness sector?
The trends derive from societal developments. There is a clear tendency in our society towards self-optimisation. This leads to even more loneliness. Society must find a way to counter this. In the wellness context, the counterpole is the common experience in a group and in nature. For spa operators and investors, the challenge now lies in serving this trend and taking people's wishes seriously. It's no longer about further individualisation, but about focussing. Everything revolves around a joint experience that strengthens one's own awareness.
Then such an experience gives us back the power to assert ourselves in the world?
That's right. The days when wellness visitors lay passively on sunloungers are past. Movement is the new medicine. Modern relaxation rooms now have a completely different significance. They are no longer classic rooms for relaxation, but communication rooms in which communication takes place on several levels. This means that I must create diversity in the interior design. For example, let's take a room in which silence is supposed to prevail: I must create a room whose ambience causes people to be silent. They are then not quiet, they are simply silent. This is a big difference. Wellness has reached the middle of society. This leads to people integrating it into their daily life. Incidentally, this is accompanied by a further development, which I hope also reaches the big investors: When equipping spas, it's also worth thinking in two or three stars and not always only in five stars. Wellness shouldn't be a matter of the wallet.
What does this mean for wellness in the hotel sector?
A spa in a hotel is one of the few places in which you can use rooms to tell stories of a special intensity. Here, the important thing is to create narrative spaces that are suitable to the philosophy of the hotel or the facility. The closer the story is selected to the authenticity of the hotel and its setting, the easier it is for the guest to see the hotel and spa as a unit. It becomes interesting when the spa is supposed to tell its own story. It then depends how strongly we are drawn into the story, so that in the best case the guest forgets where he is and is completely immersed in the story. Precisely this becoming one with the story opens up great opportunities for the hotelier, for, as he passes many stations, the guest experiences the history and can find out something about himself, feel the community with like-minded people or even change.
How is the development in the private sector?
For the sanitation industry, the word "private spa" has long been an economic driver. First we had the wet cell, then the living-bathroom and now the "private spa". People understand their private rooms as power-charging cells, in which they can experience something new in the morning and evening, or follow special rituals they have developed because this is good for them. Completely individually. This is precisely what makes things interesting. The indicator for a successful wellness holiday is the degree of personal change. I want to be changed during my wellness holiday. I would like to have assistance in changing.
What does this mean for the equipment of spas?
I think that everyone has understood that people can only change things with their head: lose weight through your own willpower, live more healthily, stop smoking or whatever. This has become fully clear in the heads of those who today actively book a wellness holiday. This is the reason why passive activities are becoming fewer and fewer. Communication, action and the associated personal changes are the factors that play a decisive role in the planning of spas.
At interbad, for many years you have been taking part in the special show "creating atmospheres". What can the visitors expect?
"Creating atmospheres" is a lively meeting point for manufacturers, architects, planners, hoteliers and private developers. In the outdoor landscape with sauna, pool and garden, visitors at interbad can find out all about different design possibilities for the wellness areas in hotels or private properties, and can be inspired for the construction or renovation of their own spa facilities. At the same time, there will be the opportunity to exchange ideas and opinions with experts and to obtain competent advice in a consultation zone designated a "Competence centre for swimming pool dreams".
With its coherent mixture of trade fair, congress and an extensive accompanying programme, interbad, the international trade fair for swimming pools, saunas and spas, provides an ideal setting to exchange professional experiences and information, carry out networking and find out about technical developments and innovative trends relating to swimming pools, saunas and wellness.
The next interbad will take place from 23 to 26 October 2018 at Messe Stuttgart.
For more information, go to www.interbad.de and hashtag #interbad18.