WHAT: THE DREAM DETOX PIED-A-TERRE
WHO: LWK & Partners
LWK started its business in 1986, and later acquired PRC Grade A Design Institute Qualifications, allowing it to work on projects on the mainland. The Hong Kongbased architectural firm now has five offices in China and more than 550 staff, and it is committed to architectural excellence and improving the quality of life. The firm has received numerous awards, including the United Nations Global Human Settlements Award for The Best Community of Global Human Settlements; Asia-Pacific Residential Property Awards; China Real Estate Association’s Top 10 Luxury Houses in China; the China Civil Engineering Society Zhantianyou Awards Gold Prize; the Focus China Architects Awards; and the BCI Asia Awards – Top 10 Architects, Hong Kong.
Given that we're well into January, chances are you've managed to fall off the detox wagon in spectacular style. The problem for many of us is that detox stands for the deprivation of life's little pleasures, be it food or alcohol. The architects at LWK & Partners, however, have achieved the impossible - they've managed to make detox an indulgence by creating a HK$34.6 million detox pied-a-terre, situated in a lush hillside.
"Living the high life - with its lightning-fast pace, worlds of entertainment, big careers and even bigger parties - can take its toll on even the finest high-flyer," says James Acuna, an associate and senior designer at the architecture firm. "You can drop in at your spa for a foot rub, but for a real wind-down, you need to be encapsulated in health, relaxation and bliss."
Acuna and his team looked at spa and wellness trends to create "a haven of constructive indulgence". The idea is that by retreating to your detox home, you become so immersed in the concept of wellness and good living that it ceases to be an undertaking. "The way experts look at health and detox is changing. According to recent findings, there are five pillars of health: eating right, pleasurable exercise, engaged productivity, pure relaxation and true rest," Acuna says. "Our house puts the resident into these five foundations. The detox home becomes a journey into relaxation, laid out in two sets of concentric circles."
He stresses the importance of situating the home in nature, explaining that our brains and bodies thrive in a natural environment. The "pleasurable exercise zone", therefore, is the antithesis of a cramped, overlit gym. The architects designed an outdoor loop that surrounds the house, featuring a yoga deck, an Olympic-sized swimming pool and a workout area with cutting-edge equipment, such as the Kinesis Personal system which, at HK$149,500, offers 200 different exercises while taking up only 1 square metre of space.
Stepping into the house, you enter the "productivity zone". Here, you can give your green thumb some exercise with the indoor-outdoor organic vegetable garden, herb garden and fresh-fruit smoothie bar.
From there it's a hop, skip and a jump to the core of this level, the "eat right zone", a Zen-like space in which to enjoy every morsel. "Here, one can eat mindfully, undisturbed by distractions and technology, enjoying each healthy bite while looking out at the infinity pool and onto the city," Acuna says.
The team placed the relaxation and unwinding areas on the second level, so that when the day comes to a close you can make your way up the floating wooden staircase amid the leaves of the indoor trees. The space is laid out so that the "relaxation zone" surrounds the cocooned bedroom, the "rest zone".
The relaxing ritual starts in the private bathroom, which includes a spa bath and a grand shower room. You can enjoy a dip in the freestanding Palomba bath (HK$135,800), with its air and hydro nozzles and LED lighting, or go for a more hi-tech experience in the Dornbracht Sensory Sky shower (HK$472,000). Here, you can set different types of rain, fog, light and fragrances. For those who find this a bit overwhelming, Acuna suggests converting this space to an indulgent, detoxifying steam room with Hammam Touch and Steam (HK$167,900). The relaxation zone also holds a cosy reading room to encourage quiet reflection, as well as a private deck for meditation or yoga.
"Once you have completed this ring of relaxation, your body is relaxed and your mind is quiet, and you are fully prepared for rest," Acuna says. At the epicenter of the house, the team sourced a luxuriously comfortable Okooko bed with a mattress made of sustainable materials, enclosed with automated blackout curtains, for undisturbed sleep. The automated skylight is set to open as the sun rises, so that you can wake naturally. "For deep rest, we must be in tune with our circadian rhythms, which depend on the natural light of day and darkness of night," Acuna says.
When you wake, you begin the detox ritual again, this time preparing to face the world. "After an invigorating shower, you can descend into the areas of productivity, eating and exercise," Acuna says. "Finally, you leave the house, refreshed and ready again for the bright lights of the city."