Sense of Self Bathhouse

Setsquare Studio with Chamberlain Architects & Hearth Studio

Sense of Self Bathhouse redefines the wellness experience with an inclusive, immersive and design-led model for self-care.

In a converted warehouse in Melbourne’s inner-north the Sense of Self bathhouse comprises; a large mineral bath, Finnish sauna, light-filled vegetated courtyard and cold plunge pool. All amenities within the space are genderless and in addition there is an emphasis on providing fair and inclusive access throughout, regardless of physical capabilities. Conceptually the layout centres around the sequence of rituals embedded in the bathing experience, using design to guide users through the order to which a bathhouse experience unfolds.

Through the eradication of the demarcating of floorplans based on gender or physical ability, there is the opportunity for communal changerooms, communal toilets (with only ambulant WC’s) and accessible communal bathing with a variety of entry options. Extrapolating the idea of water as a design initiative, decorative glass and digital projections play with the refraction of light, while the water wall and flowing fabric curtains represent the power of water.

Elemental materials such as concrete, travertine and sandstone are cast and carved in such a way that they are encouraged to wear and chip as they would in the natural environment. Vegetation embodies water as restorative.

While the concept of communal bathing is understood in Australia, it is rarely practiced and is not immediately available. Sense of Self sees the essence of wellbeing as community, acceptance and restoration and the design facilitates a new bathing culture but sits beyond the current definition of ‘wellness’ within the Australian context.


Furniture: Home body. Finishes: Haymes Paints, Munro Builds, Perini Tiles, Marius Aurenti Australia. Fittings & Fixtures: Sussex Taps.


Photography: Martina Gemmola