Blurring the divide between indoors and out is a common architectural trick—even a cliché—but a new spa at a tony Vietnam resort shows why the ol’ trick sticks. If the (likely mythical) Hanging Gardens of Babylon were built today, they’d probably look a little something like this.
MIA Design Studio, a Ho Chi Minh City–based firm, draped plants over the Naman Pure Spa to create a sense of sanctuary. If the design of a space should relay its purpose, then MIA’s architects have done a bang-up job of conveying the sense of restorative calm that a tropical retreat should exude. (And hey—no bugs!)
In addition to serving as potent eye candy, the greenery, along with the slatted brise soleil, helps to naturally cool the structure and filter sunlight. Vines provide privacy in the glass-walled treatment rooms (no curtains!) and along the corridors. They also visually soften the concrete floors and bare walls. The project goes to show that the trends of vertical gardens and living walls show no sign of slowing down.
Should more buildings adopt this practical and aesthetically appealing approach? In tropical environments—yes. (Arid climates might try a resource-efficient alternative. A hanging wall of bower vine or trumpet creeper, perhaps?)