Life

Here’s How a Dublin Studio Fuses Modern Style and Safety During the covid Era

Check out this studio that offers its students the choice between dark and light during these trying times.

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In the midst of daily highs and lows, life unfolds in the gray middle area—and at the Space Between, a Dublin yoga studio that recently celebrated its first anniversary in the wake of a pandemic, it’s that challenging intersection of dark and light where yogis deepen their practice. Trying to provide community and in-person instruction while protecting practitioners and teachers against covid-19, the Space Between has cultivated creative solutions, incorporating unique design elements into its permanent business model as we settle into a global new normal.  

Two unique studio spaces, named “Here” and “Now,” serve as a connection for that duality of light and dark, representing polar opposites in their designs. Approximately 800 square feet, Here emphasizes simplicity with stark white walls, high ceilings, and pale oak hardwood floors with underfloor heating, all complemented by streams of natural light. The Now studio is slightly larger and has a gritty vibe with dark anthracite ceilings, walls, and floors. A state-of-the-art infrared heating system radiates warmth throughout the studio rather than heating the air, which supports the body’s recovery with anti-inflammatory benefits. Together, Here and Now provide plenty of negative space, both in terms of physical distance and aesthetic function, a naked canvas that allows each person to develop and delve into the practice they desire, free from distracting surroundings. 

“The space was created based on the idea of concentric circles,” says studio curator and founder David Smith. “It is about opposites, like a Venn diagram: These opposites are trying to pull apart, yet are unable to break free, as ultimately they are the same thing. At its core is the idea of personal development through yoga, breathwork, and movement.” 

When the pandemic hit, the studio had to embrace its core functions while also proving its ability to adapt to meet the needs of clients in a safe manner. We asked Smith and studio manager Gill Costello to weigh in on how they’ve done just that.

Photo: GABY ESENSTEN PHOTOGRAPHY

Divide and Conquer

To keep students separated while entering each practice space, the teashop door acts as the entry point to the “Here” studio, which sits behind the reception area. Guests heading to “Now” use a separate main studio entrance and continue down a long hallway to the back of the property. Between the two studios are the locker rooms, a reverse osmosis drinking fountain, and a wall garden. “With three entrances, we’ve been able to keep both studios operating simultaneously while fully separating students so there is no crossover,” Smith says. This of course keeps interaction (and thus contamination) to a minimum without sacrificing the in-studio experience. And, as is customary now in most public spaces, hallways are clearly marked with adhesive floor stickers that indicate two-meter spacing, encouraging guests to leave their belongings on hooks or on a long, single bench without clustering together.

Chill Out(side)

“We have a cold shower in the garden that we’re encouraging our students to use,” Costello says. “It’s been there since we opened as an option for anyone wanting to benefit from cold therapy, which helps build your immune system. During covid, it’s an extra option for anyone who wants to shower away from others.”

B.Y.O. Mat

“We no longer offer the use of studio mats,” Costello says. “Everyone brings their own. We give everyone a cleaning spray and mat towel to use after class and then place directly in the wash basket.” The spray bottles act as markers to ensure everyone is at least six feet apart, and the layout of each room is determined by exactly how many people will be in attendance. A mask-to-mat policy is also strictly enforced. 

Let it Flow

The studio incorporates skylights and windows to increase the flow of fresh air—that, paired with a hydronic heat recovery ventilation system (set for maximum extraction), ensures that each inhalation
is as pure as possible.