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In the bustling Hubindao shopping mall, Vermilion Zhou Design‘s Green Massage is a tranquil respite in the heart of Shanghai. An Award of Merit recipient at the 2020 AZ Awards, the design drew on lunar inspiration to create a serene and softly textured retreat luxuriously accented in gold tones. All smooth curving lines and poetic spherical motifs, the space is anchored by an art installation that creates a visual dialogue between the surface of the moon and the spa’s tactile walls. A year later, the local designers have unveiled another Green Massage location, this time channelling the healing power of water.

Like its Hubindao counterpart, the new outpost is a soothing retreat from the urban cacophony. Situated in Shanghai’s financial district, the spa’s Lujiazui branch asserts a distinct identity — though one in keeping with the brand’s distinct aesthetic. While similarly smooth, textured walls envelop the space, a notably darker palette sets the ambiance, fostering a feeling of relaxation as soon as the elevator doors open.

Gently contoured by the tracks of soft, recessed lighting that hug the walls, the subtly kinetic space evokes rippling water at night. From the ceiling to the floor — and the backlit displays — each surface is carefully finished with a spackled texture, making for an elegantly unified setting.

In the lounge, plush seats are separated by swooping partitions, emphasizing the feeling of flow and creating privacy for visitors. Notes of greenery enliven the space, quietly energizing the elemental ambiance.

At the heart of the room, a digital artwork by Yang Yong Liang (who also created Hubindao’s moon installation) ties the space together. Depicting a pair of dragons weaving through clouds — water, in its vapour form — the two mystical figures hint at the dualism of yin and yang in ancient Chinese philosophy.

Past a curving hallway, individual treatment rooms offer a similarly relaxing ambiance. Here, a rippling effect is created by the play of light against the walls, with the ridges of the light fixtures refracted on a grander scale. Above the sinks, mirrors are framed by another ring of light, illuminating the reflected face and keeping the rest of the room in a soft and sensuous twilight.

A Shanghai Spa Revels in Soothing, Elemental Tones

Vermilion Zhou Design channels rippling water to create a tranquil massage centre in the heart of the city.

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