Willow Urban Retreat

Willow Urban Retreat consists of a wholefoods cafe, a movement + meditation studio, a day spa and a detox facility. Armadale / Australia / 2018

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The vision and purpose of Willow is to encourage human connection and experiences that enliven, support and advocate human wellness in mind, body and spirit in the one urban destination.


Situated on High street Armadale within two double story heritage buildings, the façades have been restored to their original grandeur. South facing spaces have been transformed with a double height central courtyard and an oversized arch to the shopfront, drawing light into the interior of the site. Linear skylights further enliven the interiors drawing daylight vertically through the building. The vocabulary of arched and vaulted spaces and openings sits comfortably within the heritage building – the seamless curves and junctions between walls and ceilings heightened through hand worked surfaces.


A key challenge was to connect the overlapping spaces and programs, maximise the use of the site, without sensorial disturbances. Our process explored how space, light and materiality can actively contribute to human health, performance and well-being. These sensorial devices were augmented with the latest innovations in building systems and materials, including advanced air purification systems, acoustic treatments and low toxicity building materials to encourage restoration, support and advocate human wellness for a truly wholistic experience.


A further narrative is added with the hands-on alchemy of local makers, commissioned to fabricate customised furniture, textiles and lighting. As an example, local artist Maddie Sharrock, produced a hand poured, pigmented cement bar in the café. We sought to maximise natural and ethically sourced materials, stone and woven fibres. Contrast was created by offsetting opulent green onyx against the relaxed hand applied cement render on the walls. Materials are kept to a minimum for simplicity, purity and restraint - the intention to slow the occupants and re-connect with nature and its cycles.


 

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    The vision and purpose of Willow is to encourage human connection and experiences that enliven, support and advocate human wellness in mind, body and spirit in the one urban destination. Situated on High street Armadale within two double story heritage buildings, the façades have been restored to their original grandeur. South facing spaces have been transformed with a double height central courtyard and an oversized arch to the shopfront, drawing light into the interior of the site....

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