Immersive and Intuitive – Sense of Self by Hearth Studio, Chamberlain Architects and Setsquare Studio

Words by Rose Onans
Architecture by Hearth Studio
Photography by Martina Gemmola
Interior Design by Hearth Studio
Interior Plants Plant Charmer

Informed by an empathetic and inclusive approach to self-care, Sense of Self is a welcoming, tranquil bathhouse designed in collaboration by Hearth Studio, Chamberlain Architects and Setsquare Studio.

The space, a former warehouse in Collingwood in inner Melbourne, is adorned with greenery (curated by Plant Charmer), filled with gentle daylight and enriched by a tactile palette of natural materials. Stepping through the door, one feels instantly at ease – even before experiencing the therapeutic effects of the large mineral bath, hammam steam room, Finnish sauna and cold plunge pool.

Reorienting the concept of wellness to emphasise acceptance, community and inclusivity, the design is an expression of Sense of Self’s values, which include belonging – ‘everyone is welcome, everyone belongs’; agency – ‘come as you are, take what you need’; and balance – ‘idleness is essential to activity’. Traditional separations around gender and physical ability are deliberately eradicated. Changing rooms are gender-neutral and accessibility is carefully considered, with a variety of entry options available.

Creating an immersive and intuitive design-led experience, Sense of Self both elevates and simplifies the rituals of bathing and practices of wellness.