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Yasmine Mahmoudieh designs the Augeo Art Space in Rimini, the centre of wellbeing which embraces art

Developed from an idea of the architect and designer, Yasmine Mahmoudieh, and from the conversion of the historic rooms in Palazzo Spina in the heart of Rimini, 31 January 2015 saw the inauguration of Augeo Art Space, a unique concept which ambitiously and creatively blends the sophistication of contemporary art with the world of wellness, to welcome guests from all over the world for exclusive events.

The Latin term augeo means “to increase” and “to grow”, but also “to strengthen” and “to fill with goods”. Correspondingly, this unique space – the only of its kind in the world - is dedicated to personal enrichment, inner growth and meditation. The Augeo project, commissioned by Sergio Antolini and his creative director, Matteo Sormani, will be reproduced in other major cities overseas. Divided into two areas, the art gallery and the spa area, it covers the ground floor and basement of the former Palazzo Brancaleoni, today known as Palazzo Spina. The reason behind this choice is explained directly by project designer Mahmoudieh: “The space for the art gallery is dedicated to the imagination and to creativity and as a result it appears oneiric and abstract. The space for the spa, on the other hand, is real, physical, designed for the body and where the mind in particular can be allowed to wander freely, to relax after the concentration and tension of inspiration in the first room.” And from the moment you cross the threshold, Augeo is able to transport everyone into another world.

HI-MACS® for inspiration and art Continuity, plasticity, light: the entrance arch to the art gallery opens on to an abstract, soft, creative world. To welcome guests and help them feel immediately at home in the inspiring atmosphere is a work created by the designer and made entirely of HI-MACS®, which appears as though imprisoned in a state of fluid dynamism. The “functional sculpture” begins on the right-hand side of the entrance to hide the old imperfections in the original structure. It then transforms into a seating area which “slides” along the perimeter of the rooms and then dives yet again to finally transform itself into a reception area and bar. A journey which accompanies the visitors, but which, above all, prepares them to interact with the international works of art on display. HI-MACS® was fabricated here by the Italian company, DForm, which moulded it skilfully and very precisely to give the “sculpture” its spontaneous sinuous aspect, a distinctive feature of the project designer, who has exploited curved lines in many of her installations. The thermoplastic capability of HI-MACS® was fundamental to the success of the project. It enables the material to take any shape and allows designers to give free rein to even their most ambitious ideas. In addition, since the distinctive feature of HI-MACS® is that it shows no signs of any joins, it is possible to create the illusion of a structure which appears to be made of a single, continual, uniform block of material, with a surprising monolithic effect. “HI-MACS® is one of my favourite materials due to its flexibility and superior quality,” remarks Mahmoudieh, who conceived the sculpture to complete the space without detracting from the art surrounding it. The white surfaces, like the counter behind, will be used as screens for digital art projects. The first will be by Zuth, who was asked to give a personal, artistic interpretation of the idea of contemplation, desire, meditation and freedom lying behind Augeo. The floor has been deliberated “dirtied” by the shades in the cement which recall the colours of a typical, Italian, outside courtyard.  Tiny specks of light, specifically placed to pinpoint the works on display, spangle the strategic white walls to make the rooms appear wider and lighter. Mahmoudieh carefully studied the lighting for this project, and opted for a mainly indirect light, which does not tire guests’ eyes and “gently” accompanies them through the different rooms. Strip lighting at the foot of the walls lightens the structure and makes the walls appear to “float”, giving a fascinating, scenic effect. Behind the reception area, a staircase leads to the rooms on the lower floor, divided between the massage and treatment area, the fitness area and the magnificent spa

El Spa Also accessible via a separate entrance, the spa stretches over the lower floor. To highlight still further the contrast between the spa and art gallery, Mahmoudieh has used darker shades which envelop the guests and invite them to relax both mind and body and meditate. Large slabs of black stone, contemporary urban finishings and precious mosaics replace the completely uncontaminated white of the upper floor, to give a luxurious, contemporary look to the massage area, as well as to the shower, sauna and Turkish bath area. Lighting is soft and indirect, creating evocative light effects on the surfaces which actively help guests relax without tiring their eyes. The clean, often angular lines of the walls and dividers break the embrace of the curved shapes and define the spaces, separating the changing rooms almost into a rich, dynamic labyrinth, harmoniously integrated with the rough, historic structure. Dornbracht, a company manufacturing top-of-the-range taps and fittings, has left its indelible mark on the environment by creating a spectacular installation for the occasion which transforms the shower ritual into something striking, unique. Dornbracht also supplied the taps and fittings of its iconic collection Tara in matt black, and the showerheads in the wellness area. On the lower floor, a fitness room equipped with the latest generation machines is a surprise of simple, coloured lights which give the room depth and movement.
The uneven spaces of the entire wellbeing area, on the other hand, crisscross to create numerous corners which give the impression of a labyrinth and of a sumptuous, unusual space which is in no way monotonous. Mahmoudieh has combined her vision for an irregular-shaped space with the functional requirements of a wellbeing environment, by exploiting the corners to create tiny solutions for bathrooms and changing rooms. Thus, no one space is the same as another. The fragrances diffused in the environment complete the holistic atmosphere, as do the chosen materials which are carefully set side by side to give a pleasant feeling of warmth and tranquillity.
Despite its basic dualism, Augeo is a unique “creature” which moves in harmony and unites dreams, inspiration and reality. Augeo is a single path, a reality combining two aspects which are in some ways incompatible, yet become, nevertheless, possible and complementary, and “melts” them into a sophisticated, carefully designed environment.

Yasmine Mahmoudieh, the project designer Born in Germany, Yasmine Mahmoudieh studied History of Art in Switzerland and then went on to train in San Francisco, where she focused her attention on interior design at UCLA. In 1986, Yasmine founded her project design studio and has since created holistic, sophisticated environments for which she has received some major awards, such as the prestigious UK European Hotel Design Award and the International Core Design Award. Known for her innovative approach to a project, Yasmine is always skilfully experimenting new materials and new concepts, all accompanied by a close study of lighting. Information & images by courtesy of HI-MACS® Photos by Riccardo Gallini Read more news related HI-MACS® published at Infurma Visit the HI-MACS® website
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