Archives for posts with tag: important

I’m all about that fresh freshness. Whether it’s scent, feel, or taste. And as you may know, I’m all about interior design and spas. Welcome to my blog. So, because I am educated in the design of interior spaces… and consider myself an aficionado of spas (you bet I deemed myself) … I think it’s interesting to talk about an important topic I have yet to touch on: maintenance (and service) upkeep in a spa business.

I bring this up because 3 years ago I visited the most adorable spa in Amsterdam called The City Street Spa. It was a dream. Literally. From the city itself, to the experience of getting there by bicycle, to the atmosphere, ambiance, quality of treatment and visual aesthetics of the spa, it was amazing. My girlfriend Shaina and I have talked many times about how we would love to own something this very size. It was bright, sunny, airy, had its private spaces, a good range of services and the treatment(s) I had were incredibly carried out. Zen.

Flash forward 3 years and I’m back in Amsterdam, wanting to have a couple hours of spa relaxation with my fiancé while visiting the city so I suggested we check out this place…as he is also a spa aficionado 😉

Well, to my chagrin, the spa was not still operating as it once had. Allow me to list the problem areas, then I will speak of solutions, and lastly about why you need to maintain and advance a spa concept (if it’s not obvious).

PROBLEMS & SOLUTIONS:

1. We were not greeted in a timely manner. I honestly don’t care if you’re in the middle of speaking to someone on the phone – you have to acknowledge your customers who walk in your door.

When you show people (even the one you’re on the phone with) that you can multi-task, and are busy, people begin to respect your time – and the person who entered your door feels like a priority. Which they are. They pay your bills.

2. The lockers still don’t have locks. It’s not even a locker. It’s an armoire. As an expat and world traveler, sorry, but I don’t trust people. I don’t care how safe the country is. At a spa I should be able to leave my worries, and possessions behind…not bring them with me to my treatment.

3. The lounge. Two key things happened here.

A. The fur throws on the lounge chairs were the same ones from 3 years ago. Now, they’re ragged, discolored, and just look old. Yikes. & dare I say, “ew”. Replacing the 30€ throws is a simple way to keep things looking fresh.

B. I am also a tea aficionado. And call me crazy but of all places, one that is about your health and well-being, a spa should have the absolute best selection of tea. Especially!, when you’re asked to sit and wait for 20 minutes before your service. Two things would have made, and started, this part of our experience off much better.

1. A menu to choose our tea – or better yet – a selection of beverages. Options. A snack maybe even? Who wants to be hungry and parched while trying to enjoy a relaxing treatment? Not me. We were served a Lipton variety. Lipton?! Of all places Amsterdam, a city known for its trade of goods, should be supporting a local tea business.

2. Knowledgeable staff. I asked the person serving us tea what options we had for tea and she did not know. She had to go check. Come to find out we had one. These types of things perplex you as to why this happened. A well run spa has these things under control.

4. My eyes were not covered during my body scrub. Any type of service that doesn’t include a facial, your eyes should be covered. Of course, that permits the service provider to ask what you prefer. Creating darkness allows you to relax…not pop an eye open to peak at the process…or have flickering eyes etc.

That’s all I’m going to say. I don’t want to bash the place. I would still recommend it because the prices are reasonable and the staff is overall polite. It be things I’ve mentioned are easy fixes.

WHY UPKEEP IS IMPORTANT:

I think it goes without saying, now that I’ve listed my grievances, why it is important to address the aforementioned things. No matter the space, keeping things fresh makes a space last, keeps things interesting and shows you care.

The take-away points are:

  • Never forget what good customer service entails.
  • Invest in privacy for your clients.
  • Train your staff.
  • Provide beverage/snack options for your clients.
  • Collaborate with local businesses for drink/food options. Maybe even skincare products etc.
  • Always strive to create a relaxed ambiance for your client. Put yourself in their position and think of how you would want the service to play out.
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Evolution. What a vast concept. It’s hard to even fathom all the faces the “human” has worn. And whats more, where we came from. I am a believer that all we are is star dust combined with an infinite amount of chemical reactions and mating cycles…so I guess that would consider me a bit of a Darwinist. Charles Darwin was an evolutionary biologist who stated that all species of organisms arise and develop through the natural selection of small, inherited variations that increase the individual’s ability to compete, survive, and reproduce. Which brings me to the topic of this blog post: Biomimicry. 

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Biomimetics is something that fascinates me, and recently I have written two different papers on it. One was its application into the Interior Design industry and the other was the history of it and it’s application into architecture. So with that said, I’d love to inform you about it here.

moth

Biomimetics is also referred to as biomimicry and bioinspiration. To start with, bio means “life” and mimesis means “to imitate”. The Biomimicry Institute‘s definition is: a new discipline that studies nature’s best ideas and then imitates these designs and processes to solve human problems. The Wikipedia definition is a tad more scientific, surprisingly: the design and production of materials, structures, and systems that are modeled on biological entities and processes. So basically taking a look at the nanomolecular structure of nature’s most time-tested and successful processes and mimicking them into human designs, be it architecture, materials, systems, products, etc.

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To give a few examples… We look to leaves to show us how to develop solar cells, we study the composition of the grid on a moth’s eye for better light absorption by solar panels, we look to Arctic Poppies to show us how we can make solar panels move with the sun throughout the day and even how we can build houses that rotate with the sun’s pattern.

24 Heliotrope house_final 3000077-poster-640-heliotrop-1Heliotrope House designed by Architect Rolf Disch, in Germany. See article: Heliotrope House via Fast Company

rotating-green-dome-designAnother example of a helitropic house by distributor Solaleya. See video via YouTube

When considering architecture and the ability to self-regulate temperature we can examine how termites, the architects of nature, construct their mounds in order to be a close-looped system where the interior remains at a constant temperature while enabling them to harvest their food (fungi). Pictured below is the comparison of the Eastgate Centre in Zimbabwe designed by architect Mike Pearce and engineers Arup Associates, and a termite mound. See article: Eastgate Centre via Inhabitat

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Another example I see as extremely beneficial in the application of medical facilities is a shark’s skin. A shark’s skin is composed of dermal denticles with longitudinal grooves that not only allow a shark to be swift but ensuring biofoul, like barnacles and algae, not be able to attach themselves to the shark’s surface. This concept can be translated into antimicrobial paints for hospital walls, ship hulls (lessening drag, increasing oil efficiency, lessening global impact), as well as creating more efficient water suits for humans.

Shark SkinAnd the list goes on. I am so excited to see what the future holds for such a promising discipline. Being able to apply such efficient natural engineering into the built environment can only help mankind become more synergistic with the planet’s cycle, ensuring that we create sustainable habitats that lessen our footprint on this beautiful place we call Earth.

Here are two great TEDtalk videos that go more into depth about Biomimicry:

Janine Benyus

Michael Pawlyn

I love this article! And I adore the woman who wrote it. She really knows her stuff. There’s something to say for experience. Here she goes over things from color wheel stereotypes to painting room walls dark colors to matchy-matchy furniture.

Feel Free to Break Some Decorating Rules.

With plentiful pictures exampling the techniques that it takes to accomplish solar heating,  in both summer and winter, with just the use of the sun’s rays (no solar panels or such)- this article expounds the ways in which architects are plotting lots and designing windows, walls, and roofs & overhangs, so to effortlessly blend a home into the rhythm of life. It might sound like some things are being repeated, but it can’t be repeated enough until a designer can draft this passive home in their sleep. The man himself and his glorious ways of thinking, Frank Lloyd Wright, are mentioned. Concrete’s benefits are talked about. Shades for the windows are touched upon. And the truth about the insulating properties (“R-value”) of glass-box homes are addressed. Please, read on:

Sunlight Used Right: Modern Home Designs That Harness Solar Power.

If only I had a home to do all of these time-consuming tasks in. One day!

November Checklist for a Smooth-Running Home.

DaVinci

As I continue my education, and I continue along the timeline of “aging” and all that entails with the “learning curve”…aka wising up, and being a part of the informed culture- Food is something that has taken quite the precedence of importance in my life. To me, it all makes sense. We are what we eat. Evolution is real, and does and will have it’s effects. What they are? Well, we are seeing them, but from a standpoint that isn’t so all-seeing. We truly need to grasp the amount of people on this planet and that food is the one thing that makes us all run. We need to be a quality species which means fighting for non-modified foods (plant and animal) because it is quite literally a life and death matter of argument and prioritization. Or it can just be survival of the fittest and may the most knowledgable, informed, and active-who-seek-organic win. ::Smirk spreads across face::

Below you will find a profoundly fascinating and simplistic talk I heard on NPR by a Doctor/Professor at Harvard University about our bodies, the food we eat, and it’s part in modern day sicknesses & diseases.

How Our Stone Age Bodies Struggle To Stay Healthy In Modern Times : NPR.