Piscine Aquazena, a public swimming pool outside Paris, has incorporated the atmosphere of a spa to bring out the holistic value of water.
Of all the coaches Mikou Studio might have turned to to consult on the design of a local aquatic health centre, a feng shui expert may not have been the most obvious. But the Paris firm, run by sisters Salwa and Selma Mikou, collaborated closely with specialist Laurence Dujardin to create a veritable ode to water and wellness that takes a holistic approach to promoting physical and mental wellbeing.
Located in Issy-les-Moulineaux on the outskirts of Paris, Piscine Aquazena features a 25-metre-long lane pool, and two smaller basins for learners and exercise activities. The main hall made of blue-tinted concrete is surrounded by such ancillary spaces as locker rooms, a sauna, squash courts, workout rooms, and a hammam. These are positioned in accordance with the principles of feng shui’s baguas, or energy maps. The mystical philosophy is all about harmonizing individuals with their environment, a perfect complement to a fitness centre.
The dominating feature is a scattering of soft-cornered skylights and windows that flood the centre with mood-boosting natural light, and allow swimmers to float in the water and gaze upwards towards the sky. At two corners of the room, Douglas fir decks offer space to kick back and settle into a lounge chair tucked between palms planted in the ground below.
While public pools have traditionally focused on the physical benefits of swimming, Piscine Aquazena expands on that agenda to incorporate the full range of water’s therapeutic benefits. Holistic considerations like these are bound to become the norm for public facilities, especially as cities adjust to aging populations. The project has already won several awards for Mikou Studio, and the firm is now working on another aquatic facility in France – this one in Châteauroux. mikoustudio.com