If you don’t know what it feels like to enter an altered state of consciousness, walking into Nushama Psychedelic Wellness Center may give you a good idea. Once you step off the elevator on the 21st floor of our midtown Manhattan flagship, your immersive journey-like experience begins.
Design of Nushama’s Flagship Location
Nushama’s design was curated by Alexandra Hayden of Octave Studio. Hayden is the daughter of noted interior and architectural designer Carol Hayden. Alex’s design is informed by the seamless interaction between the exterior and interior worlds. “She believes that each space is a curation of sentiments, a mirror of the emotional place we wish to exist in, a reflection of a soul.” She knows that “the alchemy of space can transform an entire existence.”
“At Nushama, we love the contrasts we have created inside this former mecca of traditional psychology…into the sounds of nature, and find yourself entering one artist’s dreamscape vision, with its buds and flowers reaching out of the artwork and ephemeral plane and into reality. It does, and should, set you slightly inside the realm of suspended rational thinking. It’s important that everyone start to recognize that their rational minds got them into whatever trouble they are seeking reprise from. The design is most effective if it can lead one out of the rational encounter with life, if even for one moment,” says Alexandra.
Set and Setting: Serenity, Safety & Comfort
One of the most important elements of a psychedelic journey is to be mindful of your set and setting. Co-founder of Nushama, Jay Godfrey, describes this as, “Your mindset and the visual and visceral surroundings where you will do the psychedelic work. Your mindset must be at a baseline, hopeful and wistfully open to healing, or perhaps at least a sense of the adventurous. The setting itself must lull one into a sense of serenity, safety, and comfort.”
“Nushama is about ‘new beginnings,’ intended to reintroduce people to their own childlike sense of wonder that they encounter when they have a psychedelic experience, returning to the ‘unconditioned self,” adds Jay.
Nushama’s flagship location makes this feeling come alive through the calming sound design of nature, like water and crickets. You’ll find yourself surrounded by silk flowers with multiple pinks, purples, fuchsias, and shades of turquoise. Art installations fill the space with NFTs and custom murals by Jessica Lichtenstein, which serve as a core inspiration for the space.
Personifications of nature share a sense of innocence. Nushama’s aesthetic is inspired by rebirth, translating into spring elements, like cherry blossoms and silk florals draped in the space’s archways.
Site Features and Treatment Rooms
Site features include a couple’s room facing a terrace, fully wrapped in Lichtenstein’s artwork—outfitting the two-person journey are side-by-side, zero-gravity SVAGO chairs. A group therapy room includes multi-colored Moon Pods, seating up to eight people, is designed for deep relaxation. A community kitchen for members and staff displays a large screen playing “Moving Art” by Louie Schwartzberg, inspired by his mantra, “We are all born with a sense of wonder.”
There are 18 treatment rooms, each named after psychedelic legends, from Albert Hofmann to Stanislov Grof. Alex Hayden comments on this choice, “It doesn’t inform the design, but it does inform the intention. We turn to these visionaries who have paved varying and significant paths, and we always bow humbly to the Indigenous, who have always been the keepers of the secrets of how plant medicines may help to evolve human understanding. Wisdom is passed through generations.”
Treatment rooms contain art by Navina Khatib, who specializes in “therapeutic dreamscapes.” Her work consists of multiple layers of landscape photography, where she plays with light and colors to create her very own rendition of these abstract landscapes.
Feel at Home at Nushama
At Nushama, our goal is to support you to transform your life and to provide a sanctuary to inspire you as you embark on your mental health journey. We built our wellness center with this in mind, weaving nature and art into every room to evoke a fresh perspective and help foster a deeper connection to the healing power within all of us.