Spatacular is an exhilarating and relaxing journey that happens inside a Korean spa. The Korean spa, unlike Western spas, isn’t about getting an individual, private, luxurious spa service. It’s not a passive experience where you let a masseuse or masseur provides you with all the services and body treatments. First of all, going to a Korean spa is an affordable, everyday-experience for everyone. In a Korean spa, you’ll be the one actively doing things from soaking in different tubs, washing up, getting food, scrubbing, chilling in a co-ed area, napping, to picking which saunas you want to go into. There’s also a community atmosphere where you will be going into saunas and spa baths with other naked strangers.
So, my project, Spatacular, consists of a book and posters. The book is accompanied by the story I wrote based on my experience and thoughts on the things and space inside a Korean spa. The book invites the readers to join my visual journey of exploring different senses and various spots inside a Korean spa. There’re five chapters in the book and they are presented in chronological order, so that the readers can explore and understand the whole process of experiencing a Korean spa according to the right order. Each chapter of the book happens at a different part
of the spa. There are also five main posters and one poster about the entire project. Each poster corresponds to each chapter of the book.
My goal for the project is to provide an immersive sequence of visuals and texts to help the audience to really feel like they’re inside a Korean spa. Since the spa is such a sensual experience, I tried to capture how one’s senses interact with different things inside a Korean spa–different temperatures of the water, aroma of the sauna, different food and drinks, things you can hear, how the water feels on your body and translate these sensory experiences into the right visuals. Photos are arranged with texts in a way that evoke different sensations and reflect the atmosphere of the spa.
Just like any spa experience, the Korean spa experience gives you the time to indulge in various senses. It’s a place where you can slow down and enjoy all the physical sensations around you inside the spa. It gives you the time to really cleanse, detoxify and relax your body. You can experience everything from entering hot tubs, outdoor tubs, meeting a professional scrubber to exploring a salt room, jewels room, ice room and other exciting sauna rooms. Also, food is a big part of the Korean spa experience. After a long bathing time and sweating out in the saunas, you’ll probably get hungry. Then, you can enjoy a bowl of ramen and other Korean snacks with your close friends, family, drink a cold banana milk, crack stone-plate cooked eggs on your friend’s head and just lie down and chill on a heated floor. It’s such a good place to spend your entire day soaking and leaving all your troubles away. I feel like I’m treating my body and skin whenever I visit a K-spa.