Despite its subterranean location, this minimal spa feels bright and airy thanks to designer Koray Duman’s materials-forward design approach.
By Rachel Gallaher
Photographed by Adam Goldberg
Designed by Büro Koray Duman, the S10 Training fitness facility includes a recovery spa with a minimal materials palette.
When Stephen Cheuk, fitness icon and the founder of S10 Training, first saw the 8,000-square-foot space that would become a gym and recovery facility for his clients, he wasn’t sure about putting the spa in the basement. He liked the location (New York’s Greenwich Village) and the potential (the concrete shell allowed for plenty of customization), but a set of existing constraints, including a complicated plumbing system, would dictate the layout and placement of gym equipment, treatment rooms, and saunas.
“Stephen wanted the spa area to be light and airy,” says Koray Duman of Büro Koray Duman, the architecture and design studio tasked with transforming the vacant space into an inspiring studio. “He asked if we could make people forget that they are in a basement and design a calming, tranquil place for relaxation.” Since the spa’s subterranean location didn’t allow him to bring in natural light, Duman opted to focus on the material and color palettes to create a bright, serene aesthetic.
The gym area is done in darker tones and embraces a more industrial feel.
Working with contractor Jamie Doorish of Alchemy Development, Duman delineated the gym and the spa both physically and visually. In contrast to the softer, slightly more feminine tones and materials found in the latter, the gym has a more traditional “tough” look with industrial flourishes: mirrors, metal, concrete, and black equipment. It’s a no-fuss space where people come to get work done. The spa on the other hand employs interesting details (through lighting, repeated shapes, and the use of curves) in a subtle way that adds texture but doesn’t overwhelm.
“We like to use common construction materials but in different and interesting ways,” Duman says. “That consistency allows us to concentrate on form.”
Curves are a motif that play throughout the entire space, including the lobby.
The repetition of forms and materials throughout the space provides a cohesive feeling and elevates a client’s experience beyond that of your typical drop-in workout spot. In the reception area, a large panel made up of a series of thin, curved plywood pieces boasts the S10 logo, and additional half arches in the spa guide guests through the space from locker area to treatment.
“The arches help soften the space,” Duman says. “They create a procession as you pass through and help give a sense of depth.” The visual elongation also makes the area feel bigger and less basement-like. Lighting concealed in the arches and tucked along the ceiling brings a welcome brightness, and a pale-pink modular sofa continues the curved theme while providing guests a place to sit (but not too close to others) while they wait to be called in for treatments.
“One thing that I love about these kinds of [fitness] programs is that they allow you to concentrate on your body and mind,” Duman says. “When I’m creating environments, I can help with that by designing a space that keeps people from getting distracted by the outside world.”