Interview with Daniele Cantoni by Nennella Santelli

Relaxation areas or spas? Wellness in prestigious situations

From Les Nouvelles Esthetique Magazine Issue N. 03

Lettini relax in marmo

We have asked Daniele Cantoni, expert and indisputable leader over the past twenty years in the cosmetic, beauty and wellness sectors, to talk to us about the evolution of the concept of wellness (which has really boomed) and about what people expect and want out of a so called “spa area“.

You design and create relaxation areas, spas or wellness areas in prestigious places ranging from hotels in “vacation paradises” to spas in the city. To date, what has been your contribution to wellness areas within the world of classical Esthetic Institutes?

Most of my work takes place through an inverse process: creating esthetic areas within the context of large wellness centres. In the few cases where a esthetician has contacted me, wanting to add on an area dedicated to wellness, I have always made it a point to give a thorough consultation, sometimes even before I began the design and creation phases. At times, to the client’s amazement, I have discouraged him from creating the area because I didn’t feel that it would have been worth the financial investment. Oftentimes the esthetician, as most other business people who seek the help of my company, decides to create a wellness area more out of impulse than out of a real financial need for it. On the basis of this assumption, many people who call themselves professionals, take advantage of their clients’ inexperience, promising unrealistic earnings that cannot be demonstrated by actual calculations.

Spa con area relax

What are the options and materials that you tend to prefer when designing a wellness area?

Besides the normal evaluation of materials based of their durability and ability to “breathe” which is fundamental in the steam areas, my colleagues and I do extensive research to discover which shapes and materials best “facilitate” the cleaning and hygiene of each of the facilities. For those who are unable to visit SPA CONCEPT’s website to see for yourselves, our style is pure and essential, thus allowing us to avoid the use of unnecessary borders and recesses where dust and dirt accumulate. Because we are constantly researching new options, we use all kinds of materials, without getting stuck in a rut of using the same formats over and over again. Lately, for example, we have been making wood floors with bamboo which, besides being spectacular looking, has the durability necessary for a wellness area.

How do you view the union of the two concepts of technology and nature in a place where one goes to get away from all the aberrant situations of everyday life? Because I think that in a real wellness area one must avoid, as much as possible, contaminating the environment with both electromagnetic and noise pollution.

I view it well, if it’s done professionally, fully respecting the balance between nature and man. Great attention must therefore be given to the materials used and to what I call the “lungs” and “kidneys” of a wellness centre: the air-conditioning system and the filters for the pools and hydro-massages. With regards to electromagnetic pollution, our company makes hammams and aromariums that are heated by special water circuits, rather than using the ones heated by electrical resistance that are so often found on the market.

What do you consider to be the minimum dimensions necessary to create a wellness area with water equipment in an average-sized esthetic centre?

The size in meters is relative. The important thing is not to fall into the trap of installing a pre-defined package, which the esthetician then finds himself “forced” to adapt to. A careful analysis must be made regarding the centre itself, the competition and the techniques and products that it employs, in order to create a wellness area that will perfectly marry with the existing culture. This is the only way to create synergy rather than contrast, which is so often the result. I must stress that the esthetician should not make the mistake of creating a wellness area without having first verified the financial yield it will have through a meticulous business plan. She must also remember that, beyond the “fulcrum” of the wellness area itself, a certain amount of space must also be dedicated to the relaxation area, the technical area and the dressing rooms. The minimum dimensions of a wellness area, created in a “suite” style, would start at 40 square meters.

Sauna di legno

How is it possible to create a concept of “pluri-sensoriality” in a SPA or esthetic centre?

Look at the example of the SPA-CAFE’. I came up with this concept to add the sense of taste to the four senses which we already stimulate in a person in normal wellness centres. Touch is stimulated through the materials which, many times, are heated (I have often noticed clients who, during their treatments, unconsciously caress the surface they are laying on). Sight is stimulated through relaxation areas which are no longer relegated to the basement level. Hearing through perfect sound insulation, which is a very complicated thing if you consider that a simple water surface can exponentially amplify the slightest noise in a given area. Smell… research has shown us new, completely natural methods. At the moment, we are perfecting a simple and innovative idea in an prestigious spa that we’re building in the Tuscan hills. With the SPA-CAFE’, my main objective was to add the “sixth sense” – the pleasure that comes from an environment where wellness, music, shows and refreshment create a synergy together that amplifies sensations and emotions.

Can you give us a general idea of the financial investment necessary to create several different areas in an esthetic centre?

Because of the philosophy I maintain, I tend to create spas that are different one from another. However, to give you a basic idea, I would suggest that one should plan to invest between 700 and 1.000 euro per square meter of space. Keeping in mind that both a Fiat and a Mercedes are useful for transporting people, however…