This winter, try the Upsidedown Spa in the Italian Dolomites


Among the snowy peaks of the North-South Tyrol region of Italy is a special sight. Suspended from two pillars is what appears to be an upside-down village.

The flipped floating huts actually house a spa and were newly designed by Noa Network for Hotel Hubertus. This idea is to provide a unique wellness experience with constantly changing views of the dazzling landscape that surrounds it.

The inverted spa, called Heaven and Hell, overlooks the town of Valdaora near the border with Austria.

Lukas Rungger, the project’s lead architect, told Architectural Digest: “Visitors to the spa experience a variety of constantly changing views in the wellness areas, where their perspectives are constantly shifting whether they are lying in the sauna, sitting in the relaxation area, or floating in the pool.”

The gravity-defying spa floats 50 feet above the ground, sitting on a platform supported by larch-clad pillars. A mid-air walkway connects the spa to a glass-walled relaxation area. The complex consists of huts with gabled roofs, each offering a different wellness experience.

The inverted structures, extending down from the platform, are inspired by local alpine architecture. The opposite orientation also has practical advantages. They house a water purification system and other technical installations.

The result is a surreal vision of a floating, vertiginous village in the sky.

“The lower level of the platform creates a sense of dislocation. As you descend, the temperature rises and the environment becomes more protected. It feels like a descent to the center of the earth, where everything is turned upside down,” says architect Gottfried Gruber, who oversaw the project.

On the top floor there are two whirlpools, two panoramic showers and a dressing room, all outside. The ground floor has facilities such as a Finnish sauna, a walk-in shower, an outdoor pool and a cold mist shower.

The colors and materials reflect the natural environment with brown and beige tones and ceramic and oak floors.

If you’re a fan of heights, this spa hopes to give you a whole new perspective on wellness.



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