KM: Can you tell us about your story and why you decided to create Ricari Studios?
AZ: It’s hard to believe I started the studio almost a decade ago, and it has blossomed in ways I could have never imagined. Ricari comes from an Italian word that translates directly to “bring energy back to something,” like recharging a battery. My intention was to fill what I felt was a gap in spa culture—not just in the services provided, but in the conversations engaged and physical spaces created. I recognized how our work hard culture often associates beauty and self care practices with vanity, privilege, and indulgence. I hoped to challenge what I saw as an outdated, negative association to beauty and self-care and reframe them as an essential, celebrated part of our lives. At Ricari, our aim is to offer an innovative approach in a refined and inclusive landscape, where self-care is encouraged with a pleasure-forward mindset.
I’ve always encouraged a cinematic approach to living, and have infused a certain sense of spectacle and magic into the foundation of our business to set the experience apart. There’s a definitive atmosphere and element of storytelling to what we do—we strive to take our clients on a journey. All that being said, I couldn’t think of a more fitting collaborator for our London opening than the NoMad. Not only does the hotel have a tradition of fostering visionary talent, every one of its locations immerses its guests in the local culture, while providing a sort of fantastic escape. There is a narrative element to both the hotel design and experience that fully resonates with Ricari’s ethos.
KM: Ricari means to recharge or to bring energy back into something – how do you see this idea connecting to the NoMad hotel experience?
AZ: There is an electric quality to NoMad’s grand opening in London that is positively exhilarating. The hotel has brought new energy to a historic space, just as Ricari’s treatments reinvigorate clients with energy and vitality. The transformation of the storied 19th century Police Station and Magistrates Court has created a powerful voltage, uniting the masculine character of the original architecture with interjections of femininity, glamour, and a certain cosmopolitan spirit synonymous with the NoMad brand. There is a symbiosis of old and new that is reflected in what we do; our treatments combine traditional techniques with modern technology and an avant-gardist ethos. The evocative design, galvanizing atmosphere, and sublime service of the new NoMad location could not be a more fitting home for our London outpost.
KM: As a brand that is well established on both coasts of the US, why is London the next port of call for Ricari Studios?
AZ: Initially, I was inspired by NoMad’s layered and narrative design approach. It wasn’t until I had the chance to immerse myself in the culture of the city that I came to understand that there is a current and definitive shift towards the prioritization of self-care and wellbeing in the UK. Even though juice bars and fitness studios are woven throughout the city, there is little in the way of innovative spa, beauty, and wellness treatments. After over a year of shutdowns and quarantine, I think we have all become more thoughtful about how we spend our time and what is truly valuable in our lives. Self-care, relaxation, connecting over a beautiful meal, travel—these experiences have newfound importance in our lives, and for one reason or another, they aren’t as readily available as one would hope.
I hope this shift in values will allow us to understand just how important investing time and energy into self-care really is; I hope it affords us all the opportunity to reflect on how we can incorporate these practices into our everyday lives. London is a lot like New York in so much that it is a fast-paced, metropolitan city prone to extremes. It’s imperative to find time to slow down to indulge in life’s simple pleasures. Sleeping in, booking a spa day, taking a “staycation”—these are all ways we can embrace new habits to create more harmony and achieve a sense of balance in our busy lives. I believe the treatments Ricari provides and what our brand represents will be embraced by Londoners and those visiting the city with eager and open arms. I am so excited to meet our new community.
KM: What do you enjoy most about providing a therapeutic service to your clients?
AZ: I come from a performance background. That experience cultivated a profound appreciation for the importance of physical, emotional, and psychological connection to ourselves and each other. I never thought I would find my place in the beauty and wellbeing landscape, and perhaps that distance allowed me to see the industry through a different lens. Upon entering the industry, I knew right away that I wanted to parlay my creative background into a new concept: an experience that united the benefits of technological innovation with a creative, experiential setting. As I developed the idea, I grew more confident and began to feel its value. While I knew we were creating something special, what I didn’t anticipate was how rewarding it would be to share this vision with our clients.
With Ricari as with any venture, my fundamental desire is to nourish human experience. I hope to help others rediscover pleasure, comfort, ease, and connection in a world that too readily strips us of our humanity. I live for storytelling and fostering creativity, and that approach is only amplified by the NoMad’s elegant and theatrical take on hospitality. The NoMad team has conducted its London grand opening with so much joy and enthusiasm. They treat every guest so graciously. These qualities all resonate with the Ricari experience and the way we connect with our clientele.
I love what I do because I have been fortunate enough to build a business on my terms. I’ve worked hard to create a space that feels both classical and colloquial, festive and nourishing, grand and intimate.
"Self-care, relaxation, connecting over a beautiful meal, travel—these experiences have newfound importance in our lives." - Anna Zahn, Founder of Ricari Studios
KM: How do you curate the experience for the treatment?
AZ: No two clients are alike in their needs and preferences, so I’ve prided myself on creating a truly curated offering. It starts with the essential details, like specialist technique and intensity. Beyond that, everything from the lighting and the textiles to the music and product selection is selected to provide a memorable and immersive experience.
There are, however, some thematic elements that do not change. The Ricari approach is all about merging opposing forces, such as tech and sensuality, and merging them into something bigger than the sum of its parts.
Our treatments are also pleasure-driven and rooted in a laissez-faire, no-wrong-answers approach to beauty that is relatively uncommon in spa and beauty culture. While our treatments offer visible results, they are not the heart of our narrative, because life isn’t about results either. Our vision of wellbeing includes well-sauced bowls of pasta as well as silent retreats and juice cleanses. Ricari is a call to pleasure, because we believe that living well should look, feel, sound, and taste delicious, and everyone’s invited.
KM: What are your favorite moments staying in the hotel?
AZ: As this business has grown with more projects on the horizon, I have become a literal nomad. It has been deeply meaningful to inhabit a place that feels like home and provides constant support, inspiration, and the ability to rest amidst an ambitious international launch after an exhausting year. There’s also a theatrical and exhilarating quality to hotel life, which has absolutely seeped into the experience of our treatments. It’s that Eloise at the Plaza fantasy we welcome clients into. Every day feels like the beginning of a new story, full of opportunity. It’s a potent reminder to encourage curiosity and wonder. At the NoMad, every aspect has been designed thoughtfully; there’s always something new to discover and inspiring individuals connecting and creating, but the most impactful part of my experience here has been the team and the staff. It’s rare to find such support and kindness in what is often a competitive and pretentious atmosphere. Staying in a hotel like this, you learn to appreciate the moment more, because the very nature of them is transient. Nothing is forever, but that doesn’t mean you can’t book another stay.