Working closely with Jamila Askarova, founder and creative director of luxury skincare brand Gazelli, Melt Design Hub in collaboration with Lázaro Rosa-Violán Studio has created a leading new lifestyle destination in the heart of Chelsea.
Gazelli’s story began over 40 years ago in Azerbaijan, when founder Dr Zarifa Hamzayeva began a career in Advanced Gene Science, Diagnostics and Preventative Medicine. Dr Hamzayeva went on to launch a pioneering wellness centre – Gazelli Evi (House) – in Baku, dedicated to diagnostics, and taking a scientific and medical approach to the skin, body and mind.
When Zarifa’s daughter, Jamila Askarova, joined Gazelli she set herself the task of further expanding her mother’s existing model, and the pair are working to bring their ‘House’ concept to new world locations.
For Gazelli House in Chelsea, Jamila wanted to replace the traditional design format for health and wellbeing clubs with the comfort and atmosphere of a residential house.
An elaborate brief – complicated by the fact the building is based in an urban conservation area – has produced a bespoke design that challenges preconceptions by creating an ‘anti-spa’, replacing the white washed walls, reception desks and product displays of a run-of-the-mill spa with a series of homely rooms.
The spa is organised over three floors. In the basement are the spa’s therapy rooms, which are referred to as guest rooms to maintain the residential feel. These contain linen-lined beds and storage units concealed behind sliding doors.
On the ground floor is a retail area with a ‘sitting room’, rather than a reception area, while the first floor features a striking ‘Sky Parlour’ – where arching skylights capture the clouds above – and sumptuous mirrored walls conceal the toilet and kitchen areas.
Magic and illusion are at the heart of the interior design, embodied by the fantastical, floating golden staircase that links all the floors at the building’s heart.
“The staircase was always going to be a focal point as it links the guest journey through the House,” explains a member of the Melt Design Hub team. “We’ve created a piece of sculpture made from folded bronze plate, it’s almost ribbon-like floating through the space, and a beguiling mix of the modern and traditional.”
Tiny from the outside, the highly-choreographed building opens up and out into a series of rooms, from hot shower cubicles with glass ceilings to a garden terrace, straight out of a Spanish ‘terraza’.
Gazelli House provides a full wellbeing solution from bespoke skincare treatments via specialist consultations and therapies, to educational events, informal supper clubs and book swaps.