Chinese architect Wanmu Shazi designs a cave-like experience with amorphous yet serene interiors for TT Pilates studio in Xiamen, China.
“Many people said the studio looks like a cave but —actually— at the beginning of the design, no particular style or form popped into my mind,” Shazi explains.
“Instead, I just hoped to create a pure space that reveals a natural, immersive, and serene vibe.”
The studio is located within the city center among high-rise buildings but allows all Pilates lovers to enjoy themselves in a hideaway from the busy city life.
“To hide in the wild nature, or to hide in the city.” In the bustling city, people yearn for a retreat to liberate the body and mind from busy work and social life, where they can enjoy meditating while bathing in the morning sun, do exercise with moonlight, or step into the water to take a rest,” says Wanmu Shazi.
The architect uses soft colors and materials to mimic textures found in nature, using a mix of cement and beige paint was used to form a stone-like environment over the studio’s walls and ceilings.
This fake rock finish also covers most of the studio’s expansive steel-framed windows, leaving only a few organically-shaped openings so that visitors can catch glimpses of the skyline beyond.
There are no plants in the interior yet the space looks 100% natural and tranquil, ideal for people who want to pause and slow down the pace of everyday life.
“We hope to create an austere and secluded retreat downtown to rest body and mind and keep away from the noise outside. Inside and outside the window openings are two different worlds,” he continues.
Based on the norms of pilates, the design starts with austerity, serenity, relaxation, and immersion, to let people feel the space, themselves, and the connection with the outside through the body.
The ceilings and walls are integrated, subtly wrapping original exposed structural beams and columns, pipelines as well as equipment.
The rough walls feature natural textures and the wooden floor brings a comfortable foot experience, reminding the body to start a relaxing journey of returning to ourselves.
The window openings in the rest and communication areas are enlarged, to bring in a beautiful urban skyline and neon lighting and allow learners to enjoy relaxing after exercise in a quiet space.
While the windows inside the classrooms are raised and the sizes are deliberately reduced, to conceal the urban skyline, with only sky and sunshine left.
Project: Pilates Studio
Architects: Wanmu Shazi
Client: TT Pilates
Photographers: Photography Studio / A Qi