In creating Studio 26 we faced a unique design challenge: to construct a new studio in an indoor urban setting while being mindful of our impact and effect on the natural world. In other words, how do we, in the middle of Manhattan, make a healthy, beautiful place where clients can train + restore, despite the renovation process itself being notoriously wasteful and toxic? The additional challenge of finding products, materials, and equipment that embodied our sustainable aspirations only deepened our resolve. Through this process we’ve learned that patience, creativity and perseverance are essential for a new business' ability to make smart choices towards being green. We planned to find and transform a raw space into one that would possess clean fresh air, natural light, controllable sound levels, and comfortable surroundings. While renovating we would try to preserve natural resources, waste as little as possible, and utilize existing architecture.
We chose our site for its fantastic skylights, penthouse location, northern exposure, and proximity to mass transit.
Designer Nathan Thomas was brought in for his unique ability to think outside the box, and we challenged him to conceive of a fitness and wellness center that was both sexy AND green. After a few rounds of design, we moved forward with a plan that gave clients and trainers/practitioners a comfortable, flexible space that was visually attractive and allowed them to focus on their session, all while executing our eco-friendly directive.
Below are key elements of this design, and how each reflects our commitment to a low-carbon footprint:
Light: We amplified views of two large skylights and uncovered and renovated a third. The skylights flood our space with natural light (less need for lights and electricity).
Air: We are installing hundreds of plants on a 20' by 12' living wall, which acts as a superb natural air filter. The plants also balance humidity levels in the space.
Sound: Zoned speakers, volume control, our penthouse setting, spatial design, and sufficient insulation all help to minimize street noise and allow you to find sanctuary way above street level.
Temperature: The northern exposure of the skylights and high ceilings mean minimal heat gain in summer (less need for air conditioning and electricity) and the placement of heating/cooling units with air circulation create a comfortable environment.
Water: We chose low-flow toilets and have an aerator in the shower to reduce our water usage. We’ve also chosen to offer reusable eco-friendly water bottles rather than plastic cups.
Materials: Reclaimed wood (107 years old), exposed brick (reuse of existing material), bamboo flooring (a rapidly renewable resource), low-VOC primer and paints (for healthier air), a curtain made of Tyvek (recycled material and light transparency), Bamboo pulp wall coverings (recaptured from the manufacturing of bamboo) - even the plywood in our subfloors has high recycled content. We also have eco-friendly towels and linens, yoga mats (free of toxic materials) and cleaning products, all of which were carefully compared and ultimately chosen for their minimal environmental impact.
Equipment: Our Pilates equipment is made of FSC certified wood, the Elliptical machine and Treadmill will be human powered (electricity-free), and we'll have a Bike that generates electricity rather than using it. We are thrilled to work with equipment manufacturers who are also committed to sustainability. For example, they use less packaging, work in eco-friendly buildings, and seasonally adjust work shifts to minimize energy use. When possible, they were close to NYC so as to reduce the oil needed to transport goods.
Partners: At our upcoming Open House we are partnering with like-minded companies that work to make a positive environmental impact. Balanced Body, Lush cosmetics, Lululemon athletica, and Mcbride beauty products are some of the first companies we are building relationships with.
For complete details on all aspects of how we are eco-friendly, please visit our website once it is completed in July.