Interview with Daniele Cantoni

Panta Rei, Spa-Cafè

From Wellness Design Magazine Issue N. 05

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Two years ago in the town of Riva del Garda, at the Riva Wellness Hotel, we heard you mention the term “Spa-Cafè” for the first time. Now we have seen the idea become a reality with Panta Rei.

Tell us how the idea for a place like this was born.

About a year ago, while strolling along the streets of Capri with my friend, the architect Massimo Esposito, having been asked to design a wellness center there, I suggested the idea of building something with an entirely new concept, that would be one of a kind. A place where wellness, music, shows, food and drink would blend together and be integrated “contemporarily” under one roof, creating a synergy that would further amplify sensations and emotions. And so, Panta Rei was born.

What was the most complicated aspect of this project?

It was the first of its kind, with four different activities being carried out simultaneously under one roof. We therefore had to protocol a complex weave of licenses and authorizations which went beyond “normal” situations. This offered us – and believe me on my word – a wealth of experience such that we will now be able to reproduce this format anywhere without any difficulties.

Zona relax con divanetti e cuscini

The building

The center was constructed in a building that was formerly used as a cinema-theater, in the heart of Capri. One arrives at the entrance to the spa from a small road shaded by bougainvilleas, which leads to an amphitheater-shaped terrace facing the Marina Grande bay. The ample terrace serves as an outdoor lounge that is open both during the day and at night. Here, customers can either choose to relax on a chaise lounge or have a massage under one of the red, oriental-style tents.

Upon entering the spa, immediately behind the reception, is an area where the client has the opportunity to sample and purchase an array of rigorously-selected fine products such as wines, chocolates, herbal infusions, etc. produced exclusively for the spa. In the large room which was formerly used as the old cinema hall, an area with staggered levels and mezzanine floors has been created. This area serves as the spa’s relaxation room during the day and then becomes the heart of the center in the evening.

On one side of the room, a bar was installed that can also be reached from both the kitchens and the tasting area, by way of hidden hallways. In the highest part of the main room, separated by a large glass panel, is the beginning of the wellness area. After 9:00 p.m., this becomes the “vip area” of the center, with a 16 sq. m. embedded hydro-massage tub and two large sofas that are upholstered with a special water-repellant material and that also serve as a massage/shower area.
Off to the side, one enters the steam area of the spa, which includes a light hammam, a turkish bath, a sauna, a “Nuvola” (cloud) tub, a chrome sit-in shower, a minty cold fog area and a pelting shower.

Upon going upstairs, one finds a beauty area with two large massage rooms. The entire area is characterized by ample windows, which offer clients a breath-taking view of the entire Gulf of Naples from any vantage point in the room, including the hydro-massage tub. In the hallway that leads to the wooden bar, there is a window that looks out over a cleverly illuminated artificial brook below. In the main room, in honor of its previous use as a cinema-theater, there are two large roll-away screens where images related, naturally, to the water world may be projected. Finally, as an added perk, the top part of the small tables doubles as a tray and can easily be detached from its base and replaced with another tray.

What did Spa-Concept look after besides the normal phases of development in this project?

This is a new type of center, so we basically oversaw every detail, from the hiring of the personnel to the package deals, from the choice of wines to the creation of personalized cosmetics, from the music to the water-resistant upholstery for the spas sofas, which have the duplicate function of both a seating and a shower area, and so on.

Spa cafe bar

Technological aspects

To the left of the old stage, there is a “control room” that can be reached by a small escalator. From this location, it is possible to regulate five different types of music in the various areas of the center without them interfering with one another. This is possible thanks to a highly-refined system that allows the distribution of sound by cones. In addition, as far as techniques of illumination are concerned, new innovative technology was utilized, such as luminescent, chemically-reacting ink films, which were applied to the underside of all of the shelves. Using extreme care and sensitivity, these films can alter the entire chromatic appearance of the center without the client even noticing the change.

Spa cafe luce soffusa

The materials

Marble in the light hammam, black resin for the spa’s floors, which gives a slate effect, resin combined with “Tunisian dust”, that apart from lending a natural ivory color, increases the non-slippery effect, synthetic tatami, fire-retardant cotton, black river stones inside the spa…