Architecture, connection and sustainability on the Aegean
A new formula of ‘wellness conference’ integrates nature and design
Harvest Kaplankaya at Six Senses, 2018-2019
Numbered, it seems, are the days where people crave a mere spa break. If weekend wellness conference ‘Harvest’ is anything to go by, guests are seeking more immersion, more take-home learnings, with more diverse programming – as well as the room to relax.
A selection of Foster + Partners-designed villas and clubhouses, alongside an OAB-designed hotel, provide the architectural backdrop to this new form of weekend wellness retreat that first graced Six Senses Kaplankaya on the Aegean Coast in Turkey last year, and is returning this May for a new, sustainability-themed iteration.
The setting: a family of well-placed modular buildings, designed to disappear into the landscape, dott the rolling hills. Screened by grove upon grove of tangled olive trees, a network of cliff-top paths connect the spa, beach bars, clubhouses and villas. Each low profile building retains a sense of simplicity with plain white walls, and understated landscaping; while prioritising privacy with shady verandas and discreet entrance points.
The unobtrusive resort, that respects the ruggedness of the ancient hillsides it clings to, is not without its extravagances. An impressive yoga deck juts, hull-like, over the ocean, where Foster + Partners’ storied 2009 ‘Panthalassa’ sailing yacht can often be glimpsed blessing the horizon. An idiosyncratic KAWS sclupture stands proudly in the clubhouse. All in all, this is a surreal location for a conference (a word that conjures images of dusty boardrooms and power suits); but this new form of weekend escape diligently merges discussion with de-stressing.
Following the debut of ‘Harvest Wellness’ (which, with pilates a plenty, was more retreat than conference), the event returns to Kaplankaya for new rendition ‘Harvest Nature’, 24–26 May. This three-day experience will host an eclectic group of renowned speakers to discuss themes relating to the ecological exploration and conservation of the planet.
Welcoming an audience of around 200 entrepreneurs and activists, the conference will offer a number of hands-on workshops and activities including yoga, paddle boarding, cooking classes, and workshops. Notable speakers include cinematographer Lucy Martens – co-founder of Le Ciel Foundation and Cause & Effect films – who will be discussing her filmic work, which has recently revolved around indigenous elders from around the world, and what we can learn from them.
As an entity, Six Senses Kaplankaya’s unusual commitment to wellness is matched only by its tight focus on using renewable resources; making it a well-matched locale for a conference of this kind. During the event, guests are encouraged to enjoy the fascilities. The vast 10,000 sqm spa, which, in addition to all the expected treatments, houses a physical assessment centre that harnesses NASA technology, marking it apart from traditional spa set-ups in Turkey, and indeed, globally.