Madelynn Ringo knows her way around retail. From cult-classic cosmetics label Glossier to the as-seen-on-TV Bala fitness brand, the Brooklyn-based designer has become renowned for her ability to translate a company’s mission into an experiential space. Her latest post as the Head of Studio Design for Modern Age, a digitally-integrated wellness brand — also her first foray into the healthcare sector — has proved to be no exception. Designed by Ringo, the company’s flagship location in New York City’s Flatiron district wholeheartedly embodies its brand identity — bringing agency to the aging process.
Based on the premise of subjective age — the notion that the way you feel is more important than the number of years you have been alive — Modern Age seeks to empower people to take charge of their aging journey, promoting longevity and quality of life. Research suggests that by addressing factors within your control — including how much energy you have, what you see when you look in the mirror and how optimistic you are about your future — you feel younger, thereby lowering your subjective age to live a longer and healthier life. It’s a proactive approach, one that focuses on preventative care rather than Band-Aid solutions.
To support aging, both inside and out, Modern Age toes the line between cosmetics and evidence-based healthcare. Its debut flagship serves as a natural complement to the company’s digital offerings, which range from telehealth consultations to e-commerce. Customers can discuss their wellness goals with a medical professional before booking their treatment online. With procedures and products curated by a team of experts, the brick-and-mortar studio takes a personalized, holistic approach to wellness, tackling issues as diverse as skin and hair concerns, hormones and bone health.
The 418-square-metre flagship, located at the corner of 5th Avenue and West 15th, is inspired by the human form. From the building’s exterior, a sleek black door and windows frame the vibrant welcome lounge. Against a canvas of beige lime-washed walls, bold design details represent a shift away from the sterility of conventional healthcare settings — the space is more reminiscent of a spa than a medical office. “The Modern Age Studio is a sculptural environment designed to relax your mind and delight your senses, with painterly textures, soft gradients of light, and natural materials, each detail has been intentionally curated as part of a holistic customer experience,” Ringo explains.
Playing on the concept of age, the space itself experiments with temporality, embracing both traditional and contemporary elements. While a surrealist silver reception desk and backlit product display cabinet, stocked with translucent orange shelves, feel distinctly modern, they are balanced by 5.18-metre-tall tile-glazed Corinthian columns that evoke an old-world sensibility.
Along the windows, fresh floral arrangements with medicinal scents make for a multi-sensory experience, coupled with a calming playlist that sets the tone for relaxation. The lounge also houses a cozy reading nook, where visitors can nestle into a sculptural armchair and explore a library of wellness-themed books.
Each appointment at Modern Age begins with a trip to a custom-built photo booth, tucked behind a translucent lavender partition, where visitors can document their aging process — whether for personal use or to add to their Instagram rotation. From there, visitors are ushered down a high-design hallway to one of the facility’s six procedure rooms.
Behind an arched blue doorway, each treatment suite is rendered in the same subdued palette, replete with organic forms and imbued with soft lighting. A comfortable chair puts patients at ease for their procedures, while a light well overhead changes colour, adding to the meditative ambiance. Following their treatment — and before heading back to the bustle of the city — visitors can head to one of the refresh stations, each outfitted with an organically-shaped mirror and clad in marbled terracotta-toned tiles.
From start to end, Ringo’s sculptural spatial approach has considered every physical touchpoint along the customer’s journey. The studio interior tells the story of the brand, creating a sense of transparency around aging without presenting it as a problem to be solved. With a focus on self-care and a highly Instagrammable experience, Modern Age epitomizes the future of healthcare — innovative, personalized and accessible. And with Ringo at the helm, customers can expect this forward-thinking ethos to inform future spaces the brand inhabits.
As the wellness brand’s Head of Studio Design, Madelynn Ringo has designed an immersive customer experience that sets the stage for healing.