Red Awards: Studio Red Hot Yoga

Retail can learn a lot from other industries, particularly those as exciting and aspirational as yoga. Auckland's Studio Red Hot Yoga was a winner at the 2016 Red Awards for retail interior design.

Hot yoga is exactly as the name describes: A sweaty, challenging way to practice yoga in an environment usually set at 45 degrees and up.

Needless to say, the temperature setting alone presents a unique set of challenges for designers. This is why Studio Red’s functional-yet-beautiful design was awarded the Red Award for the Entertainment, Amusement, Sports & Recreations division.

Cheshire Architects was behind the design, while Dimension Shopfitters did the shopfitting.

Cheshire Architects designer George Gregory says the brief was to create a visually beautiful space within Auckland CBD’s City Works Depot.

“We set out to create a platform for the very best of contemporary yoga. We sought an experience that was calm, beautiful and tactile, with just a fragment of luxury. We were to deliver this in a tough urban carpark,” Gregory says.

Studio Red founder Vicky Cullinane says she wanted the space to be a “modern sanctuary” that felt like more like a day spa than a fitness studio. She shared some thoughts on the project with NZ Retail.

Can you explain the choice of colors and materials used in Studio Red? 
Nat [Cheshire Architects’ Nat Cheshire] had worked extensively on City Works Depot (CWD). We worked with the existing materials and incorporated materials appropriate for Studio Red. Polished concrete floors, discreet lighting, beautifully appointed dressing rooms and two large, luxurious bathrooms create a boutique, hotel-like ambience. We wanted a space defined by simple volumes, subtle textures and soft colour; a space whose sensuality sits in perfect tension with the industrialised vigour of the heritage CWD.

How did you manage the balance between the functionality of the studio and making it beautiful?
Materials are important – custom furniture is lined in soft linens, while the luxurious showers are lined with tiny, coloured glass mosaics, like those in the original wet areas of CWD. The yoga area itself has been the main focus. It features fragrant cedar linings, the highest quality German mats, sophisticated temperature control systems and acoustic controls to maintain the peacefulness of the inner city studio. A spacious, comfortable studio is also one that is properly ventilated and we prioritise cleanliness and hygiene, which is particularly important when hot yoga is being practiced.

What has feedback been like about it?
I think a great way to monitor feedback is to look at the teachers and clientele you’re attracting. We have the most incredible teachers and clientele and yogis of all levels enjoying Studio Red.  

This story originally appeared in NZ Retail magazine issue 746 October / November 2016