Minutes away from the city’s downtown core, Montreal’s Griffintown neighborhood is a convenient confluence of apartments, shops, and amenities for urban dwellers looking for a sense of community. ELMNT, a boutique fitness chain, recently opened a spin studio in the heart of the area on the ground floor of a new residential development. “We designed the space to be calming and soothing,” says Philip Staszewski, architect and co-founder of locally-based Ivy Studio, who along with colleague Gabrielle Rousseau, an architect and interior designer, planned the space to seamlessly fit into the neighborhood.
Marking the second ELMNT studio location, the team at Ivy went in a completely different aesthetic direction than they did for the first, which is primarily used for yoga and pilates classes. Instead of bright white interiors, Staszewski and Rousseau opted for a darker palette, using different materials like a glossy laminate on the locker doors and a stained oak wood wall veneer to play with contrast. The concrete floor and columns remain unfinished, however, revealing the structural bones of the building.
“We made it all black to set the tone as soon as you walk in,” Staszewski shares, noting that ELMNT spin classes are meditative and reflective. The space also features gender neutral restrooms and changing areas, with individual showers hidden along the lobby’s curved wall and a cylindrical water fountain at its center.
With capacity for 40 riders—municipal COVID-19 protocols notwithstanding— the spinning room evokes a unique energy based on its materials. A series of color-changing LED lights dot the ceiling from one end to the other and reflect off the acrylic mirrors that line both sides of the studio, creating a distorted mélange of reflections. Altogether, “it looks like a different reality,” Staszewski says.