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The Spa of Unconscious Desires at Mondrian London

September 13, 2017

Grooming | by Courtney Blackman


It’s almost time for the 2017 edition of the London Design Festival and London’s top design-led hotel, Mondrian London are once again one step ahead.

Exploring new frontiers in design, Mondrian London is hosting a one-night-only event on the 19th of September centred around design and wellbeing. It also happens to be the last day of London Fashion Week and recuperating after a week of shows and parties is par for the course – double points for thoughtfulness, Mondrian London.

The main relaxation area at Mondrian London's agua Bathhouse and Spa
The main relaxation area at Mondrian London’s agua Bathhouse and Spa. Photograph courtesy of Mondrian London.

Joining forces with Bompas & Parr, The Spa of Unconscious Desires is an intriguing spa experience that will delve into the “antithesis to the conventional world of wellness.” It’s a bit like going down the rabbit hole, but instead of finding Mad Hatter, you’re met with a spa – just not the kind you’re used to.

If you haven’t heard of Bompas & Parr, you can get to know them on the night. They are leading the charge in multi-sensory experience design and have worked with brands such as LVMH, Mercedes, Coca-Cola, Johnnie Walker and Vodafone, and institutions of culture including The Barbican and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

The duo behind Bompas & Parr: Sam Bompas and Harry Parr made their name in jelly-making (yes, you read that right) and then branched out into an all-encompassing creative studio focused on food and drink design, brand consultancy and immersive experiences. Some of their vanguard design projects include Alcoholic Architecture and the world’s first Multi- Sensory Fireworks display. They also founded the British Museum of Food.

The Spa of Unconscious Desires at Mondrian London. Photograph courtesy of Bompas & Parr.
The Spa of Unconscious Desires at Mondrian London. Photograph courtesy of Bompas & Parr.

Back to The Spa of Unconscious Desires. This is your chance to indulge in a rejuvenating one-off night of peculiar wellbeing. You will be challenged at the event, but in a good way. Sidestepping conventional spa treatments, the menu at Mondrian London’s agua Bathhouse & Spa will play with feelings of fear, comfort and disgust, but again, all in a good way.

Treatments – based on a series of bespoke design pieces produced by a host of emerging designers (Method Studio, Edible Stories, Lucy Hardcastle and Lyon & Lyon) – aim to push you out of your comfort zone and ever so slightly into your darker side. And this is how you should do it:

Start off mildly with the Shadow Wrap. In a treatment room, a therapist will cover your eyes and place headphones over your ears so that you’re ‘cocooned’. The ensuing sonic instructions you will hear are delivered by a futuristic female voice (Lucy Hardcastle), while external stimulation comes via a mini massage. Following the treatment, you’ll get to taste an edible object from Edible Stories.

A treatment room at the agua Bathhouse & Spa. Photograph courtesy of Mondrian London.
A treatment room at the agua Bathhouse & Spa. Photograph courtesy of Mondrian London.

Next, you should get the Magma Massage. True to its name, hot volcanic stones and warm soothing oil are used to massage your body into a relaxed state whilst curated sound floats overhead.

Then head back to the changing room for the Veil of Terra. Self-slather mud on your face and body, then kick back in the steam room for fifteen minutes. Follow up with a shower using a specially-designed ‘dirt soap’ from Lyon & Lyon – we were taken with the soap made from matches and cigarette butts. You’ll see it when you get there.

The steam room at the agua Bathhouse & Spa. Photograph courtesy of Mondrian London.
The steam room at the agua Bathhouse & Spa. Photograph courtesy of Mondrian London.

The Chromatic Nail Bar is your penultimate stop if you’re following our guidelines. It might seem obvious (a nail bar), but it’s not. You can get a manicure, but it’s the spread of strange edibles that will lure you in. Savoury beetroot-dyed devilled eggs and Battenberg-esque squid ink creations are rounded out by a marzipan and fondant marble cube in bright turquoise (side note: your tongue will go blue). Each is paired with a cocktail designed by Mondrian London’s award-winning cocktail creator, Ryan Chetiyawardana. The unique blends come with even more unique names: Poinsettia Daiquiri (rum-based), Corpse Reviver (absinthe and tequila-based) and Millenial Pink (gin-based).

Another side note: our reasoning behind this order is simple. You can’t have a drink before you go into the steam room, but you should have a drink before the Shamanic Egg Healing. We’re not experts, but we definitely think a cocktail will help you reach the desired meditative state. Clutching a turquoise-painted egg in the central relaxation area, a shamanic ritual will start off with the wafting of white sage and calming guidance. The end goal is to transfer any worries, stress and toxins into the egg.

The changing room at agua Bathhouse & Spa. Photograph courtesy of Mondrian London

If you’re looking for an interesting way to spend a Tuesday, we highly recommend The Spa of Unconscious Desires, but get your tickets quick as it’s only on for one night and space is limited.

Mondrian London’s The Spa of Unconscious Desires with Bompas & Parr will take place on Tuesday the 19th of September from 6.30pm – 9:00pm at agua Bathhouse & Spa at Mondrian London, 20 Upper Ground, London SE1 9PD. Book your ticket (£80) here.  Each guest will receive three micro treatments, along with a choice of two beverages complete with a palate-matching dish.

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