Q&A with Goddard Littlefair


​Goddard Littlefair has built a reputation as world leaders in the design of super luxury health clubs and have recently added Southbank Place to their esteemed list. 

originally published on 2021-01-23 / by Anna Bowen

Southbank Place 


Goddard Littlefair has built a reputation as experts in the design of super luxury health clubs and spas. What would you class as some of your best work and why?

We believe wholeheartedly that spa design is a specialist area and many of our projects have taken several years to come to fruition. 

Southbank Place Health Club is undoubtedly one of our optimum pieces of design. Everything from the planning of the customer routes through to final detail of the design was meticulously considered to ensure that whatever experience the residents are looking for is delivered. For example, it’s always important for us to ensure that those seeking complete relaxation do not pass a high-energy space on their route to treatments, while a spin class room has the ability to increase the motivation through lighting levels and atmosphere.


Does the space at Southbank Place reflect any of your other projects at some of the world’s finest hotels?

Whilst we always strive to create a unique design language for each project, there are design principles which are common through several of our spa and wellness projects for hotels. We’re currently working on a top secret hotel spa and gym facility for a landmark luxury hotel which will be coming to London a few years from now. 

On a different but highly technical and detailed level we were very proud to deliver the Club and Championship dressing rooms for the All England Lawn and Tennis Club which is located under the eaves of Wimbledon’s Centre Court. 


Did you design the spaces to grow and evolve with time and ever-changing health and fitness needs?

Key needs such as pools and heat experiences are consistent and proven wellness requirements. Rather than introducing multitudes of gimmicks which have limited appeal, we emphasise the importance of good quality sauna, steam and vitality pool experiences which appeal to residents and deliver a multitude of good reasons to visit the spa. 

We designed gym and studio spaces that have an ability to flex and adapt to new exercise trends, equipment is easy to change and things like air conditioning and lighting are key to delivering different levels of experience as well.


Southbank Place is home to wide mix of residents, was this a consideration in your designs?

Absolutely, we tried to ensure that the spaces we created felt accessible to all and inclusive of a wide range of sensibilities. For example, in the ladies changing room, there is a full suite of heat experiences while the gentlemen have their own sauna. It provides the residents with some independent choices to deliver comfort of mind and body alike.


What is your favourite part of the health club and why? 

The treatment rooms are absolutely beautiful and cocooning. Their sense of comfort and serenity delivers the perfect environment to experience the full benefit of therapeutic treatments. 


The hair and beauty salon is not typically found in other residential developments, what was the main reason behind including this?

We did an initial feasibility piece of work to establish what types of facility would be valued by residents prior to fully planning the spa space. 

At that time, there were no residential projects in London that offered facilities on this level so we were drawn to comparisons with luxury hotel and spa facilities, looking at properties like Corinthia London and Mandarin Oriental which have exemplary spa facilities and where inclusions of beauty elements gave a real service to their guests. 

We also wanted to create a facility that really served the residents and additionally gave a sense of a community to Southbank Place and we recognised that there was a real connection between delivering this and providing a hair and beauty salon space.


The bespoke chandeliers throughout the club are beautiful and unique, could you name some of your favourites and talk us through their design and creation?

The lighting installation above the entrance to the pool area is particularly special – there was a significant design development process involved in finessing each drop of the pendant. Each of the many elements evolved into a semi-frosted, semi-polished swirl of glass all suspended from a plate to create an undulating wave effect. We’re delighted with the unique piece it has evolved into.


Do you see the Southbank Place Health Club as setting a new standard for residential amenity spaces in the future?

Absolutely. Residents have increasingly high expectations and world-leading facilities such as this Southbank Place’s Health Club provide unique opportunities to enhance their lifestyle and wellbeing. The consideration of such amenities will be key for developments moving forward. 


Are there any special or hidden features within the Health Club that will create an extra special experience for residents and visitors?

The private heat experiences within the male and female changing rooms is unexpected but allows residents to enjoy these therapies without the need to circulate onto the pool deck meaning, for example, a quick sauna after a gym session to ease tense muscles is much easier than they may have thought.
The consideration of all the senses is vital and one of the final pieces of the ambience of the space will be a signature aromatherapy scent which is currently being created. Powerful connections are created through the sense of smell and we envisage this will bring a sense of calm and reinvigoration to residents.​

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