FLOATING ABOVE / BATH HOUSE

HOTEL VAN ZANDT, AUSTIN TX

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1. Mosaic- Bisazza- Studio Job.      2. Cloud Image- Unknown Source

Fall 2016, Design V
Sep.-Dec. 2016

Nerea Feliz

Tasked with designing a bath-house experience on the 16th and 15th floors of the Van Zandt Hotel, initial design moves were inspired by the graphic mosaics produced by the company Bisazza (top left). The company commissions artists to create patterns composed of tesserae, with results quite distinct from a traditional mosaic application. Examining this precedent, the final design sought to retain the  graphic, whimsical quality, but have the mosaic go further than being purely ornamental. Researching bathing cultures around the world also contributed to the design process, specifically how Roman bathhouses utilized mosaics, oftentimes depicting nature motifs in some form. For an updated mosaic application here, the intention was to make it completely immersive so that pattern and space become fully integral to one another. The decision to use an abstracted cloud scene (above, left) as the overall mosaic image nods to one method of bringing nature into the interior-- through images. All spaces grow or are carved from this cloud image. The various baths are formed from this carving technique, as well as the smaller and larger-scale stairs. Extrusions grow from the mosaic in order to conceal the steam, sauna, treatment, and changing rooms, which require enclosure. The emphasis here is that this is a 3-DIMENSIONAL and INHABITABLE mosaic, rather than simply a static image. The mirrored ceiling also reinforces this-- it allows for an understanding of the overall image as well as highlighting the visitor within the space. Seeing activity occurring overhead makes it so that the  final image is constantly changing, and one may spot themselves floating in the clouds...
 

Completely immersive, so that pattern and space become fully integral to one another...