Dezeen Magazine

Cellularium by Formafatal

Formafatal uses glass and light to denote treatment zones in Prague spa

Curved cement-screed walls with embedded rows of vertical glass bars characterise this spa in Prague designed by local studio Formafatal.

The Cellularium spa is located in the Institute of Natural Medicine, where it occupies one curved corner of a floor in the Main Point Pankrac building, which has a glazed exterior broken up by vertical aluminum sheets.

Photograph showing dark cement spa interior with curved walls and illuminated glass rods
Light fixtures in the ceilings and walls punctuate the interior

The spa's main treatment area features three rooms that are delineated by rows of perpendicular glass bars, in reference to the vertical design of the building's facade. These transparent rods are lit according to the function of the space inside.

"There is no need to describe the purpose of the room to customers," explained Formafatal. "The colour itself defines the content: sauna as fire (red), cryosauna as ice (blue) and air flow as wind (gray)".

Photograph showing the outside of the cryosauna with blue illumination
Blue-hued light denotes the cryosauna

The 155-square-metre interior comprises an entrance foyer and a waiting room, doctor's office, locker rooms and treatment areas. The spaces were strategically placed around the building's inclined structural columns.

"You can hardly find a flat wall in the floor plan," said the architects, who acknowledged the confines of the existing space by using curved subdividing walls.

Locker room doors emerge from the curved walls

A convex divider decorated with metal fins separates the doctor's office from the waiting area and nods to the exterior of the building in which the spa is located.

"The outer shell of the surgery is lined with vertical steel plates, which gradually fold down to a flat smooth cladding with integrated doors," the team explained.

An image showing the dark-toned, curved cement wall of the doctors' office
The exterior of the doctor's office is accessed by a flush concealed door

An undulating ceiling punctuated by square, solid oak dowel rods of varying lengths unites the different areas in the spa.

Formafatal used a toned-down colour and material palette in the scheme to focus the attention on the curved shapes of the interior.

"Dark tones and smooth screed on surfaces together with daylight significantly underline the playfully modelled space," the studio said.

"We left the nurse's and the doctor's office in soft light shades that do not distract the visitor," it continued.

The lighter interior inside the office with structural columns visible
Inclined structural columns are most prominent in the doctor's and nurses's offices

Locker rooms feature mirrors with bespoke backlighting housed within perforated metal sheet backing.

"We lit up the small circular locker rooms into a play of light and shadow, again with a grid of vertical strips," Formafatal said.

A locker room interior with stool, mirror and dramatic lighting
The locker rooms employ the materials used throughout the rest of the space

"We repeated all these principles and materials in other modified forms throughout the interior to achieve a harmonious whole," it concluded.

Formafatal is a Prague-based architecture studio founded in 2015 that works across the residential, leisure, hospitality and commercial sectors.

Other projects by Formafatal include a villa in the Costa Rican jungle made up of monolithic concrete volumes.

The photography is by BoysPlayNice.

More images

Blue and grey illuminated glass bars in spa area
Close up view of illuminated glass rods – blue above and red below
Close up of illuminated glass bars – grey above, red below, unevenly integrating with concrete at the top
Dark cement spa interior with sink and storage
Sink with ceiling-mounted tap running vertically into the bowl below
The lighter interior inside the office with structural columns visible as well as storage and sink
Waiting area with seat by window
Close-up of doctors' office exterior with metal fins
Detail of locker room lighting