Oasis in the city
Jul 11, 2016

In Portuguese the description of the “Aigai” Spa in São Paulo sounds particularly promising: “oásis”. Architect Mario Figueroa, who also designed the Brazilian pavilion for the Expo in Milan, has created an elaborate sequence of closed rooms and open patios. In doing so, he showed a keen sense for contrasting materials as well as the presentation of water and light. Alongside the numerous swimming and plunge pools in the intimate inner courtyards, fittings by Dornbracht make it possible for flowing or dripping water in the “Aigai” to become an experience for all the senses of the body. Horizontal and vertical showers offer invigorating or relaxing hydro massage in the form of either rain torrents or gushes of water, as the client prefers.

From the outside the building appears secretively closed off. Its walls are overgrown with lush tropical plants; only the entrance area is free of vegetation and marked by a colorful mosaic. Only a small proportion of the building is visible from the road, whilst the set-back upper story with its gold-colored, grid-style cladding gives no indication of the purpose of the interior. The building demonstrates that here a great deal of value is placed on discretion. The 1,200 square meters of the spa includes twelve patios, of which each is designed differently and offers various treatments and shower experiences.

The raw concrete, which in its surface structure is reminiscent of slate, is ubiquitous. By way of contrast, Figueroa also chose fine marble for the interior spaces. Delicately patterned metal grids offer cool shade on the patios but also provide for variation in the architecture consisting of shielding walls, semi-transparent ceilings and open views to the treetops and the sky. In this minimalist, very haptic environment, Dornbracht fittings set elegant, optimistic accents. Most importantly, though, they offer relaxing and stimulating experiences. (rw)


The entrance to Aigai Spa appears puzzlingly secretive, and the set-back, gold-colored upper story also reveals little about the building’s purpose.
Photo © Mauricio Costa/Dornbracht

The interior of the spa with its twelve patios of varying designs appears open and comfortable. Photo © Mauricio Costa/Dornbracht

Spa experiences in a league of their own: hydro massage under the horizontal shower (left) or the fine shower from RainSky E (right), both by Dornbracht.
Photo © Mauricio Costa/Dornbracht

The treatment rooms are dominated by clear, elegant forms like the Lulu fittings series by Dornbracht. Photo © Mauricio Costa/Dornbracht

These horizontal and vertical water experiences have little in common with conventional showers. Photo © Mauricio Costa/Dornbracht

The Alape wash basins set an almost futuristic tone.
Photo © Mauricio Costa/Dornbracht

The Dornbracht Deque fitting with its elegant, reduced forms harmonizes perfectly with the architectural language. Photo © Mauricio Costa/Dornbracht