Health Yoga Life

Location  Cambridge, MA


Client  Vyda Bielkus

Collaborators  Bill Bancroft Furniture Design

Year  2017

Status  Completed

Photography  Bruce Damonte

Yoga means connection. Connection to oneself, through practice and focus, while connecting to others through mentoring and coaching. Connection translates into well-being and has an impact into a larger community.

The site

The yoga studio is located on the ground floor of the Novartis Building on 181 Massachusetts Ave. The new 1500 SF commercial space has a great street presence, which provided a huge opportunity to showcase the values of the studio and the brand to a larger audience.


A key element that makes the Health Yoga Life’s brand stand out is the mentoring and learning component. We decided to translate these 3 main aspects- community, coaching, practice- into defined spatial experiences: Shop, Forum, Studio. Public programs, such as the forum and the shop, act as magnets to the street while the studio takes the quieter and more private side of it.

The forum steps are a crucial organizer of the arrival sequence. They provide a space for people to hang out between classes in connection with the shop while creating an enclosure for the lockers located at the underside of the steps. The steps extend into a bench with ample space for people to comfortably sit down and take their shoes off. The use of the color and material textures signal these key programmatic moments, organizing the flow of people coming in and out of class.


The wood fins create a unifying gesture in the façade, integrating the studio, the forum and the shop providing sun-shading with a delicate presence of material expression through the warmth and texture of the wood.

We firmly believe in the power and identity of real materials and finishes, the wood was treated with a natural wood lye that takes the yellow off, followed by several layers of natural oil with zero VOC’s.The finish is then buffed, providing a durable protective layer to all wood elements. The floors in the forum and shop areas have a concrete topping with a slight hint of color. The studio floor is a wood floating floor.


Our firm not only designed the project but also constructed all the millwork pieces.  We collaborated with Bill Bancroft and used his CNC router to cut all the wood pieces out of 92 pieces of knotty pine plywood. All pieces were assembled and finished on site. The presence of the design team as part of the construction crew was crucial for the coordination of the different trades and to achieve the maximum construction time efficiency possible. The budget of this project was approx. $250.000.