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Though Morocco may be more known for its vibrant metropolises of Marakesh and Casablanca as well as the geological feat of the Sahara desert, the North African country’s cultural history is equally renowned. A refined new spa in Dubai builds on this rich past, embracing the nation’s lineage both atmospherically and architecturally.

For the new two-storey ZAAZ Wellness & Beauty Spa on the city’s Palm Jumeirah archipelago, VSHD Design fitted the serene 240-square-metre outpost (specializing in Moroccan treatments) with a number of details that both elevate and accentuate the services within.

To wit, the luminous arrival not only displays made in Morocco products on tailored black shelves, but is finished in subtle white plaster in a nod to the country’s architectural heritage. The studio leveraged this treatment throughout, knitting the various spaces together from the first floor (containing a red-tinted hair spa and a raised platform with four plush seats for pedicures) to the monastic staircase that ushers visitors to the second level.

Here, the sombre and reflective Hamman is finished in water-proof Tadelakt, a form of plaster produced in the North African country. Lining walls, ceilings, floors and built-in elements, the uneven application gives each space a distinct subterranean feel, further amplified by discrete downlights.

Though restraint reigns in the handling of both materiality and form, a luminous feature with irregular apertures — referencing screens used throughout the Islamic world — creates the illusion of dappled light entering through eroded pores in the wall. A charming brushed bronze basin with matching mixers nearby feels as if it, too, has been weathered in place, perhaps even passed down through generations. Concealed lighting within the base of built-in seating and beds, meanwhile, washes the floor while obscuring the perforated grates. Together, it’s otherworldly, transportive and a far cry from the bustling UAE metropolis outside.

While the overall effect is deliberately muted, accents of deep Burgundy create a contextual counterpoint in a number of spaces. From graphic millwork elements in private spa rooms to the custom Zellij tiles wrapping the bath and shower facilities, these flourishes add dimension while gesturing back to the region’s design history. (An arch motif — appearing in the salon’s mirrors, portals and even the subtle radius of the Hammam ceiling — further attests to this inspiration.)

“The design of the spa,” concludes VSHD, “provides a taste of Morocco in a discreet manner without an uproar of embellishment and instead focuses on the beauty of the materials, the lighting, lines, and proportions inherent in each space.”

This Dubai Spa Revels in Moroccan Minimalism

Taking inspiration from the North African country, VSHD Design creates an ethereal and transportive place of respite.

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