The Spa of Unconscious Desires

Touched by Design, Mondrian Hotel, 19 September 2017

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The Spa of Unconscious Desires - Touched by Design,
Mondrian Hotel, 19 September 2017

This London Design Festival 2017 saw an exciting collaboration between Bompas & Parr and Mondrian London, the launch a one-off, late-night spa experience that showcased emerging design talent and explored an antithesis to the conventional world of wellness.

The fully curated spa evening at agua Bathhouse & Spa – Mondrian London’s much celebrated Spa Playground –  pushed the boundaries between comfort, fear and disgust, submerging guests into a new interpretation of beauty and relaxation by playing with the predictable norms of spa treatments.

The selection of treatments were centred around a collection of bespoke spa-inspired design objects that were specially produced by emerging design talent Lucy Hardcastle, Method Studio, Edible Stories and Lyon & Lyon to amplify feelings of discomfort and encourage guests to indulge in their alter ego shadow selves.

The Spa of Unconscious Desires began with a guided meditation session accompanied by a curated selection of food and drink - also inspired by unconscious desires - designed by Mondrian London’s award-winning cocktail consultant, Ryan Chetiyawardana.


By choosing an object, a number was revealed, leading guests to a treatment room. Treatments on offer included:

Guests experienced total darkness as they were cocooned in a whole body wrap, coupled with an immersive monologue by Lucy Hardcastle and accompanied by a design object that encapsulated the sensory deprivation that was felt during the treatment. The Shadow Wrap was combined with a muscle-melting scalp treatment for total relaxation. Additionally, guests were also be able to consume their before and after treatment ‘self’ through an edible object created by Edible Stories.

Visitors self-applied mud masks using a textured mirror designed by Edible Stories and manufactured from ‘melting metal’. Guests left the mask on for 15 minutes in the steam room, then in the shower used a specially designed ‘dirt soap’, conceptualised by Lyon & Lyon, on their body in a move that blurred the lines between beauty and grotesque.

A group activity where rituals developed by Mesoamerican shamans were practised to rid the body of toxins. Guests then got to break their toxin-filled egg to symbolically crush the negativity out of their lives.

Volcanic stones were used to create an individual seismic sound bath, during which Lyon & Lyon conceptualised a stone object designed to be placed over the ears during the massage: the grating of the material impacted on the senses and amplified sound, creating an intense and claustrophobic world of sound.

Guests received manicures colour-matched to their mood and their choice of cocktail, to induce a heightened emotional state where more was more.