Contemporary style versus vintage charm
Saint-Germain-des-Prés is an elegant Parisian neighbourhood with a fascinating history and a hub of the intellectual and artistic life of the “Ville de Lumière” from the 17th to the 20th century. Nonconformist intellectuals such as Boris Vian, Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir as well as jazz musicians, singers, journalists and men of letters would meet here in its streets and historic cafés, firstly during the occupation and later on after the war.
The area’s unique atmosphere is typified by Hotel d’Aubusson, an old house converted into a boutique hotel located in the heart of Saint-Germain-des-Prés.
The rooms have retained their original seventeenth-century character: Versailles coffered parquet flooring, exposed beams, fine Aubusson tapestries, a monumental Burgundy stone fireplace to provide warmth in the evenings, an interior patio with winter garden, the Café Laurent where one can enjoy a pleasant dinner accompanied by the notes of jazz concerts and, last but not least, an exclusive spa designed by interior designer Bruno Borrione, a former associate of Philippe Starck.
In accordance with the client’s instructions, two underground levels of the hotel were sacrificed to create a single spectacular 400 square metre volume devoted entirely to personal care and fitness. At the centre of the space is a 20×4.5 metre swimming pool where even the most experienced swimmers can get a good workout.
The wide range of facilities include changing rooms, a sauna, hammam, ice fountain, Scandinavian shower, balneotherapy bench, fitness room and a beauty treatment and massage room. Relaxation and well-being are assured in a luxurious and welcoming atmosphere, a pure urban sanctuary.
As Borrione explains, the spa areas and distribution routes were organised around the swimming pool: “It is the central hub, an open, public space around which more intimate areas revolve, such as the niches equipped with sofas for relaxation and conversation and the rest of the equipment.”
The meticulously designed lighting system creates the sensation of a central skylight that illuminates the pool differently depending on the time of day.
“When hotel guests enter the spa, they should feel as if they are discovering a parallel dimension, at once familiar and fantastical,” continues the designer.
Borrione has created an utterly contemporary space that nonetheless maintains the warm atmosphere of the exclusive boutique hotel: “The colours and materials are similar to those of the existing hotel. There are also more obvious references, such as the choice of a wallpaper with a naturalistic background that recalls the motif of an Aubusson tapestry in the fitness room.”
The designer opted for warm, tactile materials such as travertine flooring and teak panelled walls.
For the floors and walls in particular, Borrione opted for the quality of Italian-made ceramic tiles from Marca Corona, choosing two porcelain tile collections: the marble effect surfaces of Motif Extra and the stone look of StoneOne. These products guarantee the aesthetic and technical quality and highest levels of safety that are essential in such a challenging environment as a wellness space. The luxurious 60×60 cm Motif Extra floor tiles faithfully reproduce the warmth and veins of travertine, creating a soft and cosy atmosphere that extends throughout the entire spa, from the indoor swimming pool to the private gym, changing rooms and reception. In view of the superior non-slip performance of porcelain stoneware, Motif Extra travertine was also chosen for the edge and bottom of the pool, ensuring a seamless transition between the various spaces.
Marca Corona, Motif Extra
Travertino beige, Calacatta silver
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): Ev ≤ 0,1%
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): UA
Resistance to deep abrasion (ISO 10545-6): ≤ 150 mm3
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): compliant
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): compliant
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): R ≥ 40 N/mm2
Slip resistance (DIN 51130): R9
Thermal shock resistance (ISO 10545-9): compliant
Crazing resistance (ISO 10545-11): compliant
Linear thermal expansion (ISO 10545-8): compliant