The Mondrian London and Bompas & Parrs invite you to the Spa of Unconscious Desires, a unique collaborative event like no other, transcending traditional wellbeing practices. We sent spa expert Charlotte Couldrey to an exclusive preview of this seductively strange spa soirée...
London Design Week can always be relied upon to provide a feast for the eyes, but this year Mondrian London, in association with Bompas & Parr, has gone one step further in its contribution, stimulating all the senses with its one-off event, The Spa of Unconscious Desires.
With contributions from Lucy Hardcastle, Method Studio, Edible Stories and Lyon & Lyon, the team have created an experience that challenges the accepted norms of wellness, whilst showcasing some of London’s most exciting design talents.
The event promises to ‘push the boundaries between comfort, fear and disgust,’ so it was with some trepidation that I descend to the basement. But my fears are swiftly allayed by the beautiful interior of the spa, which features a spectacular bronze teardrop overhanging a pool of water, and comfortable loungers separated by curtains, allowing you perfect privacy in which to relax.
Conventionally attractive as the spa is, the event itself features several little twists to add that extra edge. The soaps in the changing rooms are studded with condom wrappers and razor blades, and the decorative pebbles scattered across a silk-lined table are revealed to be made of chocolate.
Even the manicure is not your average file and polish. The colour is chosen to match your mood, and paired with a specially curated selection of food and drink, inspired by one’s unconscious desires. My love for cocktails and cake is hardly a repressed one, but I was not about to protest the semantics with such appealing treats on offer. The marzipan and fondant marble cube, the colour of the sky and flavoured with orange, is almost too pretty to eat, and the fashionably named ‘Millennial Pink’ cocktail (designed by award-winning cocktail consultant Ryan Chetiyawardana no less) is tart, yet sweet and utterly refreshing.
My subconscious has never betrayed an appetite for beetroot-dyed devilled eggs, intriguing as they are, so I pass them by in favour of a more unusual egg-sperience: shamanic egg healing.
Returning to the now darkened relaxation room, I’m sprinkled with sage and handed a blue-painted egg as the shaman – a soft-voiced lady dressed all in gold – begins to take us through the meditation. She instructs us to roll the egg across various points of the body: around the forehead, to stimulate the third eye chakra; across the throat, to open up the voice, and so on. The aim is to transfer all toxins and negative thoughts into the egg, which is then climactically cracked into a bowl.
Rubbing oneself with an egg feels strange at first, but as I break the shell and visualise all my anxieties running out into the bowl, I do feel an odd sense of release. This feeling of calm is enhanced by a magma massage, which uses hot stones and warm oils to soothe the body and the mind, lulling me into a deliciously dreamy state.
Maybe it’s the massage that makes me feel so refreshed and relaxed the next morning – although I’m starting to think that there may be more to shamanic egg healing than meets the (third) eye...
The Spa of Unconscious Desires offers a seductively dark twist on familiar treatments, and brings a sense of naughtiness back to the increasingly formulaic world of wellness. Whether you’re a spa regular seeking something a little different, or merely looking for an indulgent evening to pamper yourself inside and out, The Spa of Unconscious Desires might be the event that you didn’t know you needed.
As part of the experience, each guest will receive three of the micro treatments listed below, along with a choice of two beverages complete with a palate-matching dish.
Guests experience total darkness as they are cocooned in a whole body wrap, coupled with an immersive monologue by Lucy Hardcastle and accompanied by a design object that encapsulates the sensory deprivation that will be felt during the treatment. The Shadow Wrap is combined with a muscle-melting scalp treatment for total relaxation. Additionally, guests will also be able to consume their before and after treatment ‘self’ through an edible object created by Edible Stories.
VEIL OF TERRA
Visitors will self-apply mud masks using a textured mirror designed by Edible Stories and manufactured from ‘melting metal’. Guests will leave the mask on for 15minutes in the steam room, then in the shower use a specially designed ‘dirt soap’, conceptualised by Lyon & Lyon, on their body in a move that blurs the lines between beauty and grotesque.
SHAMANIC EGG HEALING
A group activity where rituals developed by Mesoamerican shamans are practised to rid the body of toxins. Guests then get to break their toxin-filled egg to symbolically crush the negativity out of their lives.
Volcanic stones are used to create an individual seismic sound bath, during which Lyon & Lyon have conceptualised a stone object designed to be placed over the ears during the massage: the grating of the material impacts on the senses and amplifies sound, creating an intense and claustrophobic world of sound.
CHROMATIC NAIL BAR
Guests will receive manicures colour-matched to their mood and their choice of cocktailto induce a heightened emotional state where more is more.
The Spa of Unconscious Desires
agua Bathhouse & Spa at Mondrian London,
20 Upper Ground,
London SE1 9PD
Tuesday 19 September
6.30pm - 9pm
£80 per person