Sustainable Design: The Change Starts with You
Sustainable design, more commonly known as environmental design, is a hot topic today. Associated with the use of “green materials” and building structures with eco-friendly functionality, sustainable design can be modern too when aesthetics and atmosphere and taken into consideration.
How is sustainable design used at AIRE Ancient Baths? Each location, uses a combination of antique decor and repurposed materials to create the luxurious, comforting atmosphere that AIRE is known for. Our US locations, for example, usually occupy former factory buildings. The large, industrial rooms become lofty caverns that are aesthetically pleasing and take guests back in time.
AIRE Ancient Baths locations are inspired by Greek, Roman, and Ottoman cultures and aesthetics -- the biggest influence being the baths themselves. In these three cultures, bathing was not only a cleansing ritual, but a part of life. It was for socialization as well as relaxation, and even a display of power and wealth. The ancient thermal bath system cycled through different baths, working from warm to hot to cold to relax and treat the body differently. These include the Tepidarium, the warm bath; the Caldarium, the hot bath; and the Frigidarium, the cold bath amongst others.
At AIRE, we provide the Ancient Thermal Bath Experience. This includes access to those three baths, as well as the Laconicum, a steam room that is also inspired by Greek and Ottoman culture, and two modern-inspired baths: the Flotarium, a salt-water bath, and the Balneum, a bath with jets. Guests who use the baths are free to move between all of them at will, but it’s recommended to try going from warm to hot to cold to experience the ancient bath ritual.
While the ancient thermal baths were heated and cooled by natural springs, our AIRE locations use underground heating systems to provide and maintain the necessary temperatures.
Sustainable design takes into consideration the environment: the one on the outside and the one on the inside. With so many thermal baths in one location, the air within AIRE can get humid pretty quickly. But that’s where sustainable design comes in – by using natural materials that can help cool down the space and counteract the humidity. At AIRE Chicago, for example, many furnishings, like marble surfaces and white Spanish stone slabs, were imported and used in the bath. All those stones help provide a cool ambient temperature, balancing out the baths.
Many AIRE Ancient Baths locations share similar design concepts such as the use of low light via candles, and imported stone and furniture to provide an ancient, classic aesthetic. AIRE’s use of unique materials encompasses sustainable design, as many of the vases, candelabras, stonework, and other fixtures are antiques, prolonging their usage. Some locations also incorporate site-specific materials; AIRE New York, for example, features wooden tables and benches made from old beams of the Triborough Bridge, while AIRE Vallromanes occupies a farmhouse and has access to farmland for fresh, slow-food ingredients.
Another aspect of sustainable design is in the products used. As society shifts towards a more eco-friendly mindset, many companies shift towards using only natural or more sustainable products.
It is well-known that the use of natural-based products are much more favorable than synthetics. Natural products have many beneficial properties because they are less processed, and therefore create less waste when being made. This extends past structure and to treatment ingredients available at AIRE Ancient Baths as well.
In addition to the baths, our treatments are also inspired by Roman, Greek and Ottoman cultures, mainly in the use of natural ingredients. The use of essential oils in massage, for example, can be found in these three ancient cultures. Inspired by that, AIRE has two rituals dedicated to the use of specific oils, argan oil and olive oil, as well as a wine-based treatment. Centering treatments around one natural ingredient keeps the ritual simple, so that guests can fully immerse themselves in the experience.
By embracing sustainable design components in our space, AIRE Ancient Baths is able to implement a more sustainable lifestyle that supports more holistic development and delivers a relaxing environment that contributes to the wellbeing of its guests and the Earth.