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After more than 20 years of uninterrupted service, the Manhattan fitness centre has closed down a whole section for renovation, for the first time in its history.
Following the work, the wellness area in the Manhattan-Nord fitness centre in Vienna’s Heiligenstadt district now offers members advanced features such as high-tech tiles with antibacterial properties capable of reducing air pollution and the authentic Finnish sauna atmosphere created by cooling with crash ice and light passing through crystals. Viennese interior designer Alice Koller (wonderland interieurdesign) designed this wellness wonderland in the Manhattan centre in pursuit of the motto "pure relaxation".
Visitors who step over the threshold of the new Manhattan-Nord wellness area do not see the roofs of Vienna before them but the skyline of Manhattan, New York. Photographs of the Manhattan skyline are backlit to reproduce the transition from day to night. “Our new wellness area stands outside of time.
Visitors can take a break from their daily routine to immerse themselves in a relaxing wonderland at any time. The transition from sunrise to sunset is a way of escaping the routine of daily life,” explains Gerhard Span, manager of the Manhattan fitness centres.
The theme is intentionally reflected in the design of the sauna area, according to designer Alice Koller: "The use of luminous cylinders hanging from the ceiling like pick-up sticks symbolises letting go, and the cascades of light give the lounge area a relaxing feel".
A short break at the seaside
Light passing through crystals induces a feeling of wellbeing.
The lighting is designed not only to create the right atmosphere in the new Manhattan fitness centre lounge but to exert an effect of wellness. The sauna cabins, for example, are lit up with mineral light. Markus Ochs of the prominent wellness supply company Silgmann was in charge of the project: “Mineral light is light that shines through a particular crystal which changes it and enriches it with positive properties. In the soft sauna we used salt crystal light with a pleasant ionising action.
Its effect on guests is like that of a short break at the seaside. Pink quartz light in the Finnish sauna, on the other hand, offers protection from damaging radiation, particularly electrosmog“.
Hot and cold
Visitors need to cool down after spending time in the hot sauna. The most intrepid guests of the Manhattan-Nord sauna can make use of “crash ice”.
“Rubbing yourself down with ice cubes after a sauna regulates the circulation and recreates the sensation of a true Finnish sauna”, says Span: “Just as the Finns rub themselves with snow after a jet of steam, our guests can cool down quickly with ice cubes.”
Those who prefer less rigid temperatures in the transition from hot to cold can cool down in showers of various kinds: a cascade showerhead offering the sensation of standing under a real waterfall, or a rain shower replicating a tropical rainstorm.
Heat from inside
The spacious new infrared cabin offers internal heat instead of icy cooling, a brand new element of wellness at Manhattan-Nord.
Warm infrared light helps relieve contractions, joint and back pain, rheumatism, stress and high blood pressure.
The lower temperatures of the infrared cabin also offer a valid alternative to the sauna for people with circulatory problems. The cabin is equipped with high-tech fittings: its eight seats have movement sensors so that when a user enters the cabin, a sensor is activated to aim infrared light directly onto the selected seat.
Two channels of coloured light representing the same colour spectrum contribute to relaxation with optical effects.
Breathing – Hi-tech tiles for cleaner air and perfect hygiene Athlete’s foot doesn’t stand a chance in the Manhattan-Nord fitness centre, the first place in Austria to use Graniti Fiandre’s new tiles with antibacterial and fungicidal properties.
The tiles also drastically cut damaging substances such as fine powders and carbon monoxide, considerably improving air quality in the sauna area.
Nature also benefits from the new floor and wall tiles, as they require no chemical detergents to clean them. As Gerhard Span notes: “Hygiene is very important to us, and use of intelligent products of this kind makes an important contribution to sensorial pleasure“.
The best way to get an idea of what the new wellness area is like is of course to try it, according to Span: before, after, or instead of training. All you have to do is give in!
Manhattan is a leader on the high-end Austrian fitness market with a particular focus on quality and on the healthy aspects of training. Manhattan fitness centres owe their position on the market to obligatory diagnostic check-ups for members to ensure controlled training. A total of 1900 check-ups were performed in 2009 alone.
The two Manhattan fitness centres in Brunn am Gebirge (Manhattan Wien Süd) and Vienna (Manhattan Wien Nord) are TÜV quality certified and subjected to annual inspection by TÜV of Austria. Only 23 of Austria’s 500 fitness centres are TÜV certified. Manhattan (www.manhattan.at), an Austrian-owned private enterprise, has been an active presence on the country’s fitness market for 20 years. The two centres are operated as fitness clubs. In 2009 Manhattan fitness centres had a total of 7260 members.