Work Scope: Interior Design

Project Team: Jeffrey Zee, Aaron Tang

Location: Shanghai China

GFA: 1800 m²

Completion: May 2013

1. Short description of Entry
The Project aims to create a high-end Yoga and fitness facility tailored to the sophisticated occupants of the Shanghai World Financial Tower as well as the surrounding neighborhood residences. More importantly, the facility is one of the first-ever sustainable and elaborate “well-being” environments that target the female community. The overall program and aesthetics are thus specifically designed for these purposes.


2. Overall Excellence
The design process begins with an in-depth understanding of the Yoga, where it promotes the balance between the body and mind. The initial inspiration of the interior design is therefore generated by translating these ideas of harmony, juxtaposition and equilibrium into a physical space. The design approach focuses on a minimalistic and modern aesthetic which is rare for a project of this type within the Chinese context. The pure lines throughout the architecture are smooth and fluid as they create a sense of continuity for direction and traffic flow. The experience begins with calming the soul, through soothing background music, intimate lighting, and a slight scent from aromatherapy as one slowly decent down through the feature elliptical ramp. Day-to-day pressure is instantly relieved as one arrives at the Atrium rest area, where a cup of warm beverage of choice is served. Organic furniture, combined with natural greenery and white pebbles further enhance the whole experience. It is this spiritual journey for which the design is fundamentally based.


3. Use of technology
The featured ramp at the Atrium is supported by just two intermediate connecting points at existing columns (in addition to the slab connections at the two levels). Constructed by CAD/CAM structural steel beams, the ramp is then finished with matte-white GRG – Glass Fiber Reinforced Gypsum, to give the whole structure a seamless and floating effect. All lighting, including the ceiling pendant glass spheres strip lighting along the ramp as well as step illuminations are controlled through intelligent dimmable modules for adjusting towards various needs and occasions. Sustainable strategies are further carried out through the use of water-saving bathroom fixtures; from shower heads to water closets. Sophisticated fresh air in-take system constantly monitors oxygen/carbon dioxide levels to ensure a safe and healthy environment for all types of exercises.


4. Impact in Asia
W YOGA by Will’s is a first attempt for the fitness group giant to enter the Yoga market despite their numerous locations throughout China. From a design point of view, the aesthetics detaches itself from the convention interpretation of health facilities where the focus is often on certain “Asian-eque” themes. Instead, the minimalistic design approach allows guests to embrace the essence or the “spirituality” of the exercise without being distracted by superfluous ornamentations.
The design style is elegant and timeless, as it takes cues from the natural postures of the human physique. On the other hand, the specific programming of the 2,200-sqm space is unique yet considerate, especially for the female yoga community. A boutique fitness gym, a juice bar, and internet stations are located on the B1 level, while the Atrium rest area, group yoga studios, a hot yoga studio, individual Pilates rooms, generous changing rooms and shower areas are located below. This configuration clearly demonstrates privacy between the more composed yoga participants from the more energetic fitness guests. Never before has such integration of design, positioning and programming be put into a project of this typology and scale.


5. Success
Will’s Group was established in 1996 and has over 30 locations throughout China, where 24 venues are within Shanghai. W YOGA by Will’s is their first high-end sub-brand which primarily focuses on Yoga for females. Although the culture and understanding of Yoga is still developing within the China, W YOGA has already built up significant awareness of the sport through this establishment. Because of its unique positioning, program and design aesthetics, W YOGA has already attracted hundreds of members within its first few months of operation. The company already has plans to further increase presence within this sector and expands into other Chinese cities such as Beijing, Wuhan and others. The Project has also successfully enhanced customer experiences, preserved patron loyalty and upgraded the overall Will’s Group brand through this new venture.