In 2020, award-winning Seattle firm Olson Kundig completed the design of DRIFT Yoga Studio, located in the South Lake Union neighborhood. The key to the project was balance, both in form and function. The studio needed to be a place for communal gathering and quiet meditation, so the material palette encourages both.
In the public-facing areas, lighter materials, like terrazzo and maple, are welcoming. As visitors progress inside and ready for their practice, the palette changes, utilizing deeper woods and charcoal paint. “A darker material palette here further underscores the transition to a more reflective space,” said the firm.
Inside the main studio, a simplified scheme and diffuse lighting are an ideal backdrop to concentrate. “Considered design decisions within the yoga studio minimize distractions and allow students to focus on their practice,” said the firm. Here are our tips for creating a meditation room at home, inspired by the design of DRIFT:
The thing about creating a personal meditation room in your house, is that the project can be as simple, or complicated, as you’d like it to be. That’s because it’s a space that only needs to work for you.
Ask yourself what colors and materials elicit focus and grounding, and start from there. If dark colors don’t make you feel good—don’t use them. Evaluate how the room will affect many of the senses, not just sight.
Since the goal is to focus with minimal interruptions, pick a spot that is quiet. If that’s not feasible, consider using white noise tools or instrumental music to dampen intrusive sounds.
Olson Kundig used LED strip lighting around the room to foster a warm glow. Set up beside a window that gets good natural light, if that’s what you need, or install soft window coverings to block unwanted views and diffuse harsh sun.
Minimize clutter, which might encourage unwanted thoughts to spring up. Surround yourself with views that promote calm, such as an exterior window to the garden, a group of houseplants, a favorite paint color, or piece of art.
The DRIFT studio is wrapped in a warm wood, so as not to be too stark. Pick materials, like a rug, meditation cushion, or blankets, that feel good to the touch and soothes.
Bring in tools that aid concentration and signal engagement with the activity at hand, such as candles, statues, or a Tibetan singing bowl. Add scent via incense or a room diffuser.