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Urbana Cityspa and Teabar

An Urban Oasis in the Middle of Suburbia

Thank you for creating a space that created the buzz that created Urbana clients. -Nancy Goodwin, President, Urbana

Tucked away in a nondescript shopping center in Charlotte, North Carolina, patrons are surprised to find a sleek and modern loft-style spa, art gallery and tea bar commonly referred to as "the spa with the cool ceiling," says Scott Wilson, AIA, GS&P senior design principal. But there is much more to the Urbana Cityspa and Teabar than just its ceiling.

Early in 2005, GS&P was asked to design a prototype for a unique upscale spa. The client wanted a modern interior space with an urban look that also evoked a relaxing, rejuvenating feel. Their vision for this facility, a first of its type in the country at the time of its design, also included eight massage rooms, a custom tea bar, a retail space and a spacious lounge - all within 3,650 square feet.

The design team, led by Wilson and interior designer Kristie Nicoloff, IIDA, NCIDQ, overcame strict spatial limitations to present a modern design that remains as sleek, dramatic and unique as the owner's concept.

The lounge and tea bar area-a newcomer's first sight of Urbana Cityspa and Teabar-was envisioned as a posh lounge minus the pretense, drawing all parts of the spa together. This area would provide a place for relaxed socializing, sipping high-end teas and, after dark, enjoying wine, champagne and hors d'oeuvres. It would also encompass the retail offerings of the establishment. With such an ambitious plan for confined space, several measures had to be taken to achieve the intended modern atmosphere while providing smooth transitions between areas.

The high ceilings were left exposed, contributing to a New York City loft-like atmosphere and the illusion of larger interior space. At the center of the space, a bold and captivating undulating ceiling fixture is lighted from above, casting reflections that resemble water cascading across the floor. "As soon as guests walk into the tea bar entrance or walk from the reception into the lounge, they are drawn to it," owner Nancy Goodwin says.

The owner's wish was to convert a small, raw space in a suburban shopping area and transform it into an inspiring place that would provide a dual experience that rejuvenates both mind and body-a very private, tranquil massage, accompanied by socializing in a sophisticated yet relaxing environment. GS&P's modern interior design granted that wish, and the experience and the space have proven to be extremely popular in Charlotte. Other Cityspas are planned for the future.

A rapidly growing client base also awards the interior design with its approval, making comments such as, "The modern atmosphere, with its stylish design and ambient lighting, added a sense of upscale tranquility." Nancy Goodwin, President of Urbana Cityspa and Teabar said, "Thank you to GS&P for creating a space that created the buzz that creates Urbana clients."

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Project Info

  • Client: Urbana Cityspa and Teabar
  • Location: Charlotte, NC, USA
  • Market: Corporate + Urban Design
  • Services: Services, Interior Design
  • Team:
    • David M. Meech, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP Principal-in-Charge
    • Kristie Nicoloff, IIDA Interior Designer
    • Melissa Teng Project Manager
    • D. Scott Wilson, RA, APA Program Manager
  • Awards:

    IIDA, Carolinas Chapter, 2008 Retail Design Merit

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