There’s a particular air to health and wellness spaces that has become all-too-common and all-too-banal: natural materials, bright lighting and clean lines that suggest a similar physical state is only a few moments (or classes) away. Jaybird – a new yoga, pilates and movement studio in Vancouver’s Yaletown neighbourhood – is a sharp departure. Courtesy of local designers Ste.Marie Art + Design, the studio features no mirrors, dim lighting and a rich palette more akin to a moody cocktail bar than a fitness mecca.
Inspired by the sculptures of Romanian artist Constantin Brâncuși as well as the work of modern dancers Lucinda Childs and Yvonne Rainer, the space – like the classes within – is a carefully crafted choreography. “Entering from the glass-walled streets of downtown,” says Ste.Marie, “Jaybird’s design transports the body and guides the mind, embracing what can’t be seen.”
Inside, recycled cork tiles lining walls and floors define a cavernous frame for a monolithic desk that greets visitors upon entry. Progressing further through Ste.Marie’s spatial rhythm, long white oak benches with subtle textured details and integrated wheat sheaf accents line the perimeter of the reception. Planters of wheat also appear to emerge from the walls, which bear monochromatic treatments of segmented circular and rectilinear forms. These gestures are also carried through in sweeping bulkheads and arched portals that “evokes a primordial, warm cave,” according to the designers.
The blonde wood built-ins gracefully direct visitors toward the change room, which features stainless steel elements embedded within the mirrors that borrow from the geometries of the reception’s wall treatments. Beyond sits the final piece of Ste.Marie’s choreography: the studio
With no mirrors and no bright lights, the studio is a meditative respite from the bustling street outside that “places importance on the haptic experience – a place to reflect inwards and solely on one’s self.” A sinuous slatted shelf lined with a mirrored surface and populated with flickering candles provides the only physical reflection in the room. A black ceiling and dark wood floors are paired with the same cork paneling featured in the reception to add material depth to this infrared heated space used for Jaybird’s music-led Build, Burn, Booty and Balance classes.
“Jaybird is about getting out of your head and into your body,” the movement studio explains. “Disconnect from distraction. At Jaybird, it’s not about how you look but how you feel.” And Ste.Marie’s sumptuous interior expertly follows this ethos: marrying body and building in a way that seems both fresh and timeless. Who says you can’t look as good as you feel?
In Yaletown, Jaybird is a mirrorless escape courtesy of local studio Ste.Marie Art + Design.