The word elysium in Greek mythology meant the island of the blissful – a place on the western edge of the earth where the gods can transfer their favorites alive, immortal heroes living there in constant spring and without worries. When designing the spa in the middle of the historical center of Bratislava, we came out from the need to break free from the daily cycle and calm down. This space is a meditative hiding place from the outside world. We build the concept of an urban spa on the perceptions of space as a temple for the body. The reference is the historical public baths Grössling, which are located nearby and provided visitors with the purifying procedures of body and soul. Through an hidden entrance from Grösslingova Street, we dive into the basement of a historic building via the original stone staircase. In the former cellars, we preserved the original brick vaulted ceiling . We build the concept on embedded objects and a combination of terrazzo, brick, cobalt and black cladding or wood materials. These objects define the interspace that winds freely around the entire spa. In the second plan, we work with light. With natural, which enters through existing window openings or skylight and is dynamic during the day. The experience is unique in every time and period. Or with the artificial, which is based on the functional substance, but also underlines the overall intima te atmosphere of the space. A visit to the elysium spa is supposed to be a kind of experiential path of purification and slowing down – therefore an art piece – the Trajectory of Movement by Stanislav Ondruš works as a reference to it. The benefit of the space is also an outdoor terrace in the courtyard, where is a mobile sauna with sun loungers situated. The unknown combination thus creates a new relationship with the city and the neighborhood. New vistas and new experiences.
What makes this project one-of-a-kind?
An interesting feature is the mode of fully autonomous operation, where the visitor, thanks to the use of technology (sm artphone + biometrics), can ensure complete privacy and adapt the experience to their own ideas. The design works with period layers, which it complements with precise author’s novelties. It minimizes construction interventions in the original constructions, but at the same time brings a new solid materiality to the space, with an emphasis on minimal maintenance. A separate chapter is the integration of intelligent infrastructure. The concept, which was created in close cooperation between the client and the architect, completes the artistic work of Stanislav Ondruš.
GRAU architects; Andrej Olah, Filip Marčák, Matej Kurajda
Elysium spa tech
Year of completion
Bratislava, Old Town, Slovakia
Stavea Interier s.r.o., Comklima s.r.o., Ceramica Vogue, Osmont, Luceplan, Cidemat, Sapho, Ikea