Om Away From Home

Adam Guttentag, YogaWorks’ senior vice president of development and operations, discusses the mindset in creating comfortable spaces that accommodate seasoned practitioners of yoga as well as newcomers

How many projects does the company work on at a time?

It varies. As we have grown, the number of concurrent projects has increased. In any given month, we may have as many as five to 10 projects.

In which part of the building process are outside contractors hired?

This is something that we are continuing to look at as we grow, as we evaluate the best way to scale our business in an efficient and cost-effective manner. We are looking to develop strategic partnerships with our contractors, so we can get them involved as early as possible in the pre-construction phase in order to be able to move quickly once our construction permits are ready.

How do you determine what location is good for a studio?

We look for a good mix of residential and daytime population in an area, and accessibility to the location is very important. Unlike many other retailers, our students and members come to practice three to four times a week, so ease of access is critical. We also look at various like-minded businesses and other yoga and boutique fitness options near a proposed location to make sure that we have the right demographics.

YogaWorks operates under the belief that yoga is for everyone and works to make its studios accessible, comfortable, and warm to all who want to partake. (Photo: David Wolfe)
YogaWorks operates under the belief that yoga is for everyone and works to make its studios accessible, comfortable, and warm to all who want to partake. (Photo: David Wolfe)

What stages are the latest studios in at Playa Vista, Korea Town, and Woodland Hills? 

Woodland Hills is under construction. Koreatown and Playa Vista are scheduled to start construction in early August. We are also starting work on a downtown LA location, at 2 California Plaza; Novato in Marin County; and View 14, which will be our first location in Washington, DC.

What is kept the same, interior-design-wise, at each location?

Overall, we are pretty happy with the look and feel of our practice rooms, so other than leveraging unique architectural features of a particular location—such as the glass atriums at Brentwood—we have kept this space fairly consistent. We then allow for more flexibility in design in the retail and reception area to appropriately reflect the local neighborhood and community.

How does each studio exemplify the mission of the company?

YogaWorks’ core belief is that yoga is for everybody. This is reflected in our studios through our focus on making our studios accessible to everyone. By this, we mean that when you walk in, it is an open and warm space, and, ideally, a sanctuary from the hustle and bustle outside. We have given a lot of thought to the person who is new to yoga. You can be comfortable walking into a studio, getting some information on how to get started with a yoga practice from one of our yoga advisors in a comfortable, bright environment. No experience required.

Latest Location:
Brentwood, CA

“Our design process is one of continuous improvement and there are also many changes driven by California’s Title 24 requirements,” Guttentag says. “Our lighting is almost exclusively LED lighting now. At our Brentwood location, we were also able to incorporate two glass atrium components into one of our practice rooms, providing great daylighting and beautiful natural light throughout the day.”

Why is design and environment important for exercise or workout facilities?

People react instinctively to colors, sound, textures, and temperature. All of these things come into play in our design, from the wood flooring, to our color palette, to providing a quiet environment inside the studio.

Why is finding the right location and space particularly important for a yoga studio?

One of the major differences between a yoga studio and a typical retail store is that our clients typically take class several times a week. Therefore, easy access is an important factor in assessing a location. Additionally, when looking at the space itself, we look for a clean space that will make it easy to lay out our design, and also unique architectural features that we can incorporate into our design as part of providing a unique, “local” feel to the space.

What part of the construction process is the most time-consuming?

It depends on the project and the region. In some cases, the permitting can be very challenging and require a lot of oversight and management. However, consistent from project to project, the most time consuming piece is overseeing the installation of the final finishes and preparing the studio for turnover.