Tea with an architect: Meet Iain Bailey

Iain Bailey, Managing Director of BDS Architects, is part of the fantastic consultant line-up for Tea with an Architect. The event will take place as part of Professional Beauty London, on 22-23 February 2015.



1 - How did your activity in the spa business begin?

We starting working with David Lloyd, and his son Scott, in 1993 creating new wellness area concepts for a new chain of health clubs, called next Generation Clubs.  Getting involved in understanding their business allowed us to move into various areas of expertise which included spa design and solve many of the problems experience by them in the early days of the business, bringing them up-to-date. 

2 - What do you expect from Tea with an Architect?

I expect to have conversations with prospective or existing spa owners and operators and help them understand just how essential it is in spa design to have a specialist with experience. Spas are one of the most complex buildings to design and get right. If the designers do not have the relevant experience, costly mistakes can be made.  In the process I hope that we can help them realize their dreams or simply improve what they have.

3 - What pitfalls can you help people avoid by coming to Tea with an architect?

Well there are many pitfalls in creating a spa, both in terms of design and technically. Designing the layout – the flows, the client journey and integrating the technical aspects of a spa are complex and fraught with danger to the uninitiated or inexperienced.
Hopefully, we can save clients money, use their budget to the best potential and avoid the pitfalls.  It might not be rocket science, but it’s pretty close.
4 - What do you think will be the 2015 trends in the wellbeing business?

Our philosophy on spas and wellness has remained unchanged and our research has always led us in the direction of natural materials, low energy and sustainability. Our belief is that spa have been moving towards a more ethical approach and no longer simply want to deliver beauty treatments but also want the clients to benefit fully health-wise. So we think that more and more will, and should, move towards longevity and not simply embrace a ‘trend’.

5 - Which project would you consider as your best achievements?

I think the best work of any designer is when your philosophy and the clients’ wishes align. Working together with a good team is essential to produce the best results.  We are proud to have steered David Lloyd Leisure into a more complete wellness offering although not being involved in every project.  It has been good to see their client offering grow from the early seeds we planted.  
One of our most enjoyable projects was to create a new concept for Kempinski China.  As we tend to carry out a lot of research for each project, we found our knowledge and skill base being increased and this resulted in a happy client.
One of our best projects was in Primland in south Virginia US.  The spa was in the middle of 14,000 acres of wilderness high up in the Blue Ridge Mountains.  We incorporated treatments and materials used by the North American Indians to create a natural holistic spa.

Kempinski China


Primland in south Virginia US


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