Much like a blind date, a studio’s first impression can make a big impact on how you walk away feeling about the overall experience. And in an increasingly competitive industry, brands are being as mindful when it comes to the interior design of their spaces as they are the workouts being offered inside of them.
That could mean luxe shower products in the locker rooms like at Barry’s Bootcamp. Or, incorporating art, which is what SoulCycle did when it opened a new studio in midtown Manhattan in 2017. “More than 20 orbs were positioned throughout [the lobby], and riders were encouraged to place their hands on [their] surfaces to see a ‘reflection of their soul’ based on the colors and vibrations that show through,” says Alan Cooke, SoulCycle’s vice president of design, who added that a new lobby experience is coming soon.
Just like the future of fitness is digital, the future of brick-and-mortar studios will likely be, too.
If studios are already paying this much attention to detail today, what’s next? That’s a question I posed to Shelly Lynch-Sparks, founder of Hyphen, an interior design firm that’s worked with clients including MNDFL meditation studio in New York City, Hit House (a new Muay Thai boxing studio in Manhattan), and Classpass’ HQ. Just like the future of fitness is digital, the future of brick-and-mortar studios will likely be, too.
“We’re constantly thinking of ways we can design for tech,” says Lynch-Sparks. When working on the interior Hit House, she says she was “adamant” about easy connectivity with outlets and USBs. “I hate not having all the things I want right in front of me when I’m in a workout space,” she says.
Other design elements to (potentially) be on the lookout for—if not now, soon: blissfully fast and orderly check-in processes, truly high-tech experiences, and custom-scented locker rooms. (Yes, seriously.)
Here are 6 more predictions from design pros about the fitness studio experience of the future.
1. Personalized lockersNo longer are lockers being looked at as smelly caverns to store your stuff during a sweat sesh. Michael Bordes is the president of Jedson Company, a construction firm that’s worked with buzzy NYC studios such as Rumble, SLT, Pop Physique, and Bari Studio. And he tells me that he’s recently seen an uptick in such clients requesting “more upscale locker rooms and bathrooms that are scented. It’s similar to what some hotels with signature scents are doing; the scent is generated [through the ducts] into the ambient air.” So, not only will you be buying into a studio’s signature workout, but perhaps its signature scent, too, as brands invest even more into selling a lifestyle—not just a class.
Oh, and having to pay for a lock because you forgot yours (or having to remember your four-digit combo after a particularly blissful yoga class) might soon be a thing of the past, as well. “With digital lockers, people forget their code and get locked out, which is problematic, but I think [soon] it could be your thumbprint, or some part of your body, instead of your code” says Lynch-Sparks. “I’m not sure how far out that will be, but it could be soon, considering we already have it on the iPhone.”
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