Wine Therapy and beautiful interiors at Ella Di Rocco - The perfect Mother’s Day Treat by Tash South

Choosing a present for mother’s day is tricky. It’s a biggie. Mums do so much and I always struggle to find the right gift that says a big enough ‘thank you’. So when this week I was invited to Ella Di Rocco Wellness Medispa on the Fulham Road in Chelsea to experience their brand new interior-designed spa and one of their unique treatments, I thought that this would be a perfect indulgent treat to give as a special mother’s day gift.

Having first heard about the creative ideas for Ella Di Rocco’s interior, designed by Matteo Bianchi Studio, from Studio Director Simon Hamilton (who I’ve interviewed here previously), I was keen to visit. The brief for the project was “to realise the client’s dream and design a beautiful and serene environment for London’s first Wellness MediSpa”. I was interested to see the element of well-being woven into a great design, and how a well-designed space contributed to the way we feel and experience it, which is what I’m always aiming for in my own work as well.

Another reason this is a perfect Mother’s day post, is because Ella Di Rocco is a mother and daughter business, set up by Dr Anna Brilli and her daughter, Sonia Milena Brilli. Anna, an implantologist, maxillofacial surgeon, and accomplished business woman, combined her skills with Sonia’s passion and insights around the latest beauty trends and customer needs to realise her lifetime dream of opening the medispa. Anna and Sonia want to revolutionise the concept of ‘beauty from within’ in a non-invasive way with their unique treatments.

Ella Di Rocco's Reception area

Seats upholstered in green velvet sit beautifully next to brass detailing

Many of the treatments offered at the spa are exclusive to Ella Di Rocco. I was particularly interested in the wine spa treatments.

Being submerged in wine, whilst enjoying a glass of Sangiovese at the same time? It sounded like my idea of heaven!

When I asked Sonia about the concept, she explained that in Rome, where she was born and raised, it was a common thing to do, she’d visit wine therapy spas with her mum regularly and they’d enjoy the de-stressing and revitalising effects of the treatment. Red wine is also rich in antioxidants which is great for the skin.

Adjacent baths in the spa area

Ella Di Rocco Bath in wine

Red wine and soft towels lined up and ready to use for the wine baths

After relocating to London, Sonia couldn’t find anything similar, and that’s how the Ella Di Rocco seed was planted. As with most businesses, the planning took many years, and the spa was finally opened in February 2018. Apart from the wine bath, which is 40% Sangiovese, as well as virgin grape juice, grape seed oil and hot water, the other wine treatments include a Merlot De-Stressing and Rejuvenating Face Scrub & Mask, (which is what I enjoyed under the magical hands of experienced therapist, Irina) Detox Wraps and Face & Body Massages. Wine Therapy Products are naturally made from wine, grape leaves and grape seeds.

Textured tiles and walls create a relaxed, tactile environment in the spa

A soft leather bench in black punctuates the textured green concrete

With its unusual reception, well-designed treatment rooms and luxurious spa, all by Matteo Bianchi Studio, it certainly is a beautiful space to relax in. The spa is clad in deep green polished concrete with custom-made textured tiles and tactile brassware, it has two adjacent baths, so you can enjoy your special wine bath experience an a chat with your mum, friend or partner.

I love the way different greens, circular shapes and curves are carried through the entire interior. Green is of course the colour of life, renewal and energy, perfect for this type of setting, and I really enjoyed the way the designers have paired it with brass and bold black and white geometrics in places to give it a modern edge.

"There are bespoke fittings and features throughout, which were developed with the client for their specific purpose very much in mind. Even the bold black and white patterned wallpaper is unique to Ella Di Rocco. Once at the Lower Level, you enter the private spa decorated with deep green walls, specially commissioned black and white floor tiles, treatment beds and relaxing dimmed lighting." Matteo Bianchi

Ella Di Rocco is so much more than just a spa though, they offer many exclusive technologically advanced treatments that not available anywhere else in England. They are focussed on well-being and re-newing the body from the within, as well as cutting edge beauty treatments. DNA and heavy metals testing before and after treatments provide data showing real results.

The osteopathy treatment room holds state-of-the art machines that treat serious conditions and pain, and the resident osteopath, Miad, is currently the only UK based osteopath who is formally trained to use the CMF SportSys, and works in collaboration with London hospitals to find new ways to treat patients pre and post surgery, with Fibromyalgia or severe back pain using complex magnetic field technology.

There are 3 private treatment rooms with calming colours, soft towels and all-important dimmable lighting. A former retail unit, the project took 12 months from discovery to completion, and it was highly technical from the outset, incorporating advanced technology including equipment directly from Nasa.

The three private treatment rooms

Ella Di Rocco kindly gifted me a complimentary treatment.

To book a treatment or find out more, you can contact the spa here.


Image credits:
2 & 6 supplied by Ella Di Rocca
All others:





MODERN MAKERS SERIES: Creative Duo Kim And Joe Launch Their Unique Skalpel Steak Knife by Tash South

Here on the Modern Makers Series I'm always on the hunt for unique pieces made with skill and care. This time I'm interviewing creatives, Kim Hutcheson and Joe Fitzgerald who have teamed up with maker, Stuart Mitchell, to come up with the unusual idea to create a skalpel-inspired steak knife.

The knife, inspired by a surgeon's scalpel – it's a unique piece of design in the world of steak knives, which on the whole have all looked pretty much the same for years. Kim and Joe didn't just want to make something that looked different, they wanted to make a knife that's genuinely well crafted and works beautifully – not just churned out of a factory. The knives are made to a very specific process in small batches of 100, each one individually finished by hand, which underlines Kim and Joe's ethos of 'doing one thing well'.

I love the clean design and element of dark humour of the product, and I'm not the only one, as they have already smashed their Kickstarter goal way before their deadline. I asked Kim and Joe to tell us more...

Tell us about your background and why you both decided to start producing these knives.
We're a creative team who have been working together for over 13 years. Together we come up with ideas and write adverts for brands. After working so closely, for so long, it was just natural that we started thinking up our own concepts. We've really enjoyed seeing this project develop from idea through to production, and actually having something physical to show for it at the end.

The concept is quite unusual, dark almost, how did you come up with the idea?
We're always bouncing random ideas back and forth, but I think this particular idea came to fruition over lunch - we were eating steak naturally. We both have quite a dark sense of humour, so the slightly macabre nature of the idea is what we loved. What started as a 'wouldn't it be cool if' moment, quickly became something that we decided to make happen.  

When did you launch your brand/Kickstarter campaign?
The Kickstarter campaign launched on the 19th of Feb this year, but there was months of work behind the scenes before that could happen. Having the idea was the quick bit, getting it made was a much lengthier process.

Neither of us actually knew anything about knife making so we spent ages researching it. Luckily the work paid off and it led us to the very talented Stuart Mitchell who has been making knives for over 35 years. He's one of the best in the business, but he's also a lovely bloke who has been the brains, and very skilled hands, behind this whole endeavour. Together we spent months prototyping and refining the design until we were all satisfied it was the perfect marriage of form and function.

How would you explain your creative approach for this project and where did you draw your inspiration from?
Obviously a surgeon's scalpel was the big inspiration for this knife, but we didn't want it to be an exact replica. We took some key features from a standard scalpel so the concept was clear, but we modified a lot so it was fit for purpose. Skalpel is a standard steak knife size which is bigger than a surgeon's scalpel. It's very ergonomic, and weighted so it just feels right in the hand.  
One of the things we love most about it is the fact that it's crafted from a single piece of metal, which is actually pretty unusual (it also makes it stronger than other knives which is a plus too).  The result is a very sleek and modern looking piece of design. We wanted to make something that appealed to both steak lovers, and fans of minimalist design.

Tell us more about how and where the scalpel knives are made.
We knew we didn't just want Skalpel to look great, we wanted it to be produced to the highest standards possible, all here in the UK. By finding a master knife maker in Sheffield, the home of stainless steel, we got just that.  

Portland, Sheffield, the home of stainless steel.

The knives are laser cut from an 8mm piece of SF100 steel, which is the same stuff they use for razor blades. Then, following on from heat treatment, they undergo lengthy grinding, glazing and finishing processes. Then an extensive hand rubbing/finishing takes place. Each Skalpel is handmade by Stuart in his workshop where everything passes through his hands and his hands only.

Because of these multiple processes, and our commitment to the highest standards of quality control, we only make 100 Skalpels a month.

Stuart Mitchell expertly crafts each Skalpel Knife

Stuart perfects The Skalpel Knife on the grinding wheel.

What are your plans for the brand in the next two to three years?
We've successfully been funded on Kickstarter which is great, and we've still got a few weeks left of the campaign so hopefully we'll attract some more backers. So our first priority is fulfilling these orders.  

We'd then like to take the brand into retail. Our dream would be to see Skalpel in a cabinet at Conran, or maybe the Tate Modern shop. We'd also love to work with a restaurant so Skalpel ends up in a big dining space - we think the knives are a real conversation starter at any dinner table, so they would be the perfect piece of dining theatre.

Then, who knows... We have a couple of ideas up our sleeves.  We have had an idea for another steak knife design, or we might design a complimentary fork.

Where do you call home? Tell us a little bit more about your own homes and interior style.
My flat in Hackney (which was featured in this blog!) is currently doubling up as our office. It's an open plan space that's nice and bright, so it suits us. At the moment you'll normally find us sitting at my Unto This Last dining table emailing journalists, answering questions on Kickstarter or on the phone to Stuart. We're both into interior design, so in the process of creating Skalpel we've spent many a happy hour 'researching' at places like twentytwentyone, Aria, SCP and Conran. Hopefully Skalpel will be a huge success and we can afford to fill our homes with some of the lovely pieces we've seen!

Kim's modern kitchen in her Hackney home

Lastly, what is your favourite thing about London?
We both love Hackney; there's just so many brilliant pubs, restaurants and unusual shops. The flat/office is one road from Wilton Way which has everything you'd ever want. We often go across to the Spurstowe for a drink at the end of the day, or pick up a bottle from Borough Wines.
We love the shop J. Glinert which has some beautiful stationary (we're both big fans of pen and paper). If we need to get out the flat you'll often find us in Footnote, or if it's a special occasion dinner at Pidgin.  

Pidgin Restaurant, Hackney

Best of luck to Kim and Joe, I'm sure the Skalpel Knife will be a huge success and I look forward to seeing it in a cabinet at Conran soon!

If you'd like to back their Kickstarter campaign, you can do that here before the 21st March 2018.



Image Credits:
Stills: Tal Silverman
Moving image: Tal Silverman
Editor: Crispin Devrill
Post Production: The Forge
VO: Rick Romero
10. Open Table