All posts by Joseph Ginther

About Joseph Ginther

With over 20-years of experience in the architecture and planning profession, Joseph provides expertise in a wide range of project types. He has a strong portfolio representing a wide range of complex architectural and contextual planning and mixed-use projects designed to create memorable places through layered detail, hierarchy of spaces and human scale.

A New Take on the Corporate Retreat

The tradition of a Corporate Retreat is undergoing a revolution. While the idea of a Retreat Center isn’t new, its connection to the resort environment is evolving.

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 “Corporate group travel is making a comeback as many luxury resorts across the country incorporate company retreats into their program.” (Forbes). With business retreats back on the rise, the desire for a personalized, resort-style experience prompts a new approach that invigorates previous corporate models.  On a dramatic peninsula in Lushan West Sea, the developer expanded the notion of the Corporate Retreat to a series of lodging and learning clusters, located to encourage deep inspiration. 

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While the building footprints are a common prototype; each of the elevations portrays a distinct, yet cohesive style. Each group of retreat clusters is linked with a jewel amenity building –celebrating intellectual study (library), business strategy (boardroom) and social interaction (dining hall).  This purposeful placement of buildings allows the dramatic setting to inspire.   

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In Longmont, Boulder County Colorado, Xilinx  has created a Retreat Center that is both connected and independent from the headquarters building. Connected by a bridge and open space path system, the retreat is tucked into a landscape of forest and stream. The stream headwaters flow from retreat into and through the headquarters, serving as a reminder of its presence.

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The future of the Corporate Retreat is a deep collaboration of personal and corporate goals, combined with a deep respect for the environment.

Xilinx Interior Winter Garden

Eau Spa South Palm Beach

It gets better: Eau Spa South Palm Beach

Imagine getting a Hall Pass to a Conde Naste Top 25 Spas in the World. Imagine that Hall Pass is handed out by WTS International, a Global Leader in Spa and Fitness Management, imagine what that kind of access means to a design leader in any design firm, this is the best. It can’t get any better, right? It gets better.

They knew I was coming, but I don’t think it mattered. Managed by the best, the Staff is used to giving star treatment to all that waltz through the door. Fun is the theme here, but to quote the late Malcolm McLaren, it “where serious things are done with a sense of play”. Like any design professional, I wanted to snoop around the BOH as well as guest spaces.

The guest experience is first rate, warm and greeted like returning family, led to ‘The Well’ (my words), where I made my wish, lit my candle and set it floating. Transcendent stuff, of leaving the outside world to the inner sanctum of spa-world. Very cool.

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Promise Pool

Before completely getting into the ‘Spa-vibe’, a little snooping was in order. The BOH was a reminder of how challenging non-revenue producing space is considered. They make the most of it, operations offices, IT stations, call and reservation center, management tucked away. Staff spaces, laundry (a spa requires an ungodly amount of fresh and soiled laundry space) stores for treatment kits and oils all efficiently organized and managed out of the way, the ‘hidden delivery of services’ you would expect and guests would never notice. Actually the BOH access was knitted into the main spa circulation spaces that it was centralized and operationally successful. Kudos there.

It gets better. The fitness spaces have pool and ocean views. The panel over the treadmills reminded everyone that “One donut equals One mile”. Ouch. Hadn’t thought of it that way before….

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Friendly Reminder

Back in Spa-Land, the men’s and women’s areas reflect a very whimsical interpretation of escape. Calm yet unexpected…over stimulated, in an escapist way. Does anyone remember the Philippe Starck Scottsdale Mondrian? It is in that kind of escapist, hard to picture but in a very good way.    

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Men’s Locker Room

    

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Chill Zone

There is a trend in spas that lets you personalize your treatments, picking and choosing your ingredients for a scrub or polish, no problem here with bulk ingredients to combine into personal mixes. Limes, aloe and spices are grown in the courtyard.

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Wall of enrichment
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Mix your own scrub treatment

 

It gets better. The Spa has signature cupcakes, but the comp Champagne is a real treat. Nothing says pampering like a glass of champagne BEFORE a treatment. The chill spaces are both indoor and out, gauze curtained inside and outside a full array of cabanas, pools, swings over splash areas, all sorts of stuff to indulge in.

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Courtyard – pools, swing sets, lounges all set amid lime trees, aloe and spices

Call to action, Treatment Time. The rooms all have customizable LED lighting depending on your mood, I didn’t ask if you could plug in a personal music player, but should have, wouldn’t surprise me, every spa should have this capacity.

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Sweet lighting and sound control

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Super treatment complete, back to the chill zone, where WTS had arranged for a private villa, outdoor terrace, personal hot tub, swings, lush landscape shading all of it and more champagne. I was assigned the ‘Villa Flirty’

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Villa /flirty – post treatment bliss indoors or out

From front of house to back of house to guest sequence and staff hospitality the Eau Spa has reason to be proud of its credentials.

It gets better. The Eau Spa has no intention of being static, and there is a complete renovation in planning stages for the next evolution. Can’t wait.