Focusing on wellbeing, The Barking Bathhouse experiments in the latest design, health and beauty ideas to help people feel happy and relaxed this summer during perhaps the most hectic period in London’s history: the London 2012 Olympics.
The Bathhouse opened on 13 July 2012 in Barking town centre and provide affordable spa treatments as well as a free social space for people to meet. Something & Son are the design practice behind the hugely successful FARM:shop in Dalston which saw the practice create a fully functioning farm within a disused shop. This new project is one of the Mayor’s Outer London Fund projects being delivered for Barking and Dagenham Council.
The Barking Bathhouse combines a spa with a bar, where visitors will be able to sip healthy cocktails under a canopy of growing cucumbers and sunbathe in seaside-inspired pebble bays. After soaking up vitamins and being pampered with a variety of treatments - using produce grown by local allotment gardeners - visitors will be able to sweat it out or cool down in a traditional wooden sauna or a cold room with a pioneering ‘dry ice’ chiller. The purpose-built design of the Bathhouse is inspired by 20th century working men's bathhouses, ultra modern spas and Barking’s industrial heritage.
Andrew Merritt of Something & Son said: “Ideally relaxation should be an everyday experience and we wanted to design a space that can increase happiness and explore ideas of relaxation in an urban context. The juxtaposition of traditional spa techniques and the industrial setting will create a raw but very human space.”
The clear roofed structure of the bar area allows high levels of sunlight into the communal space. In the treatment area, strong spotlights will pinpoint areas such as the nail bar, creating some drama in an otherwise low lit, tranquil space. A raw aesthetic throughout will challenge traditional notions of ‘luxury’ while creating a blissful space to relax.
The pod-based structure, which was prefabricated and docked together on site, has been planned with the future in mind, and when the Bathhouse closes at the end of the summer the different pods will be separated with the aim of relocating them locally for continued use by the community, including local allotment owners, playgrounds and youth centres.