Dezeen Magazine

Windows are lined along the curved walls of Soul Realm SPA House by Atelier Right Hub

Atelier Right Hub replaces corners with curves in cavernous Hangzhou spa

Chinese studio Atelier Right Hub created a cave-like spa in Hangzhou, China, with a network of interconnected, circular rooms and walls finished in white clay.

Located on the 13th floor of a commercial building by the Qiantang river in downtown Hangzhou, the Soul Realm Spa offers spaces for massage and meditation.

The interior of the Soul Realm Spa has a neutral palette
Curved walls lead visitors through the Soul Realm Spa

Local studio Atelier Right Hub was invited to create a calming interior within the building's rectangular, 220-square-metre floorplan.

This was achieved by inserting a sequence of circular treatment rooms with curved ceilings into the centre of the plan.

A blue sofa is located at the waiting area of Soul Realm Spa
A curved blue sofa faces a semi-circular window

"If we observe life carefully, we will find that straight lines are mostly found in man-made objects while natural objects are mostly curved," the studio told Dezeen.

"Whether it is mountains or rivers and streams, they are curved and full of changes and they have more charm and vitality than straight lines."

The sofa is sunken into the floor at Soul Realm Spa
The walls are finished in white clay

According to Atelier Right Hub, the circular plan was informed by the shape of traditional Tibetan singing bowls – a type of inverted bell used for meditation.

The walls, ceilings and floors are made from white clay and blend seamlessly together. They have a textured finish, which the studio likens to "walking barefoot on earth".

"China used to be a country dominated by farming culture," Atelier Right Hub explained. "Farmers mostly farmed barefoot in the fields and children often played barefoot as well."

"These memories are both unfamiliar and longed for in modern cities. Only when you feel the earth barefoot will you let go of your defences – this is also a way we hope spa guests could enjoy real relaxation."

A spa bed is located in the centre of a treatment room at Soul Realm Spa
Private treatment rooms have a circular design

Each massage room features a brass garment hanger and storage tray suspended from the ceiling, where clients can store their clothing and jewellery during treatments.

Curved clay walls also wrap the perimeter of the floor plan to create a curved corridor where the studio has positioned resting areas, a lobby and the foyer.

"The interior space is similar to caves," said the studio. "The curved ceiling, streamlined walls and the visual axes that revolve around the twists and turns form a fuzzy space-time context that is difficult to synchronize with the outside."

A glass door leads to a walk-in shower
Showers are fitted within a circular alcove

A series of large, geometric windows punctuate the corridor, including an arc-shaped window that illuminates a small resting area and reveals expansive views of the city's downtown area.

Its form is echoed in the semi-circular sunken lounge with green banquette seating next to the window.

Walls and ceilings seamlessly blend into one
The spa was designed to have a cave-like look

Other cavernous spas around the world include the Europhia Spa by DecaArchitecture, which is carved into the base of a mountain in Greece, and a subterranean spa in Brooklyn, New York.

Photography is by Studio FF and Studio RH.

More images and plans

The spa has a sunken seating area
The seating area over looks the city
Curved walls were constructed using clay
Walls have a slight textural look
A plant and seating are placed against the walls
Doors lead to spa rooms
Windows provide views into spa rooms
Circular halo lighting was placed above the shower