Over the past few decades, yoga has evolved from a niche activity for New Agers to a mainstream form of exercise practiced by everyone from uptight rich housewives to football players with tight hamstrings. Yet the standard yoga gear available reflects none of that diversity.
Designers Joseph Guerra and Sina Sonrab wanted to get away from the one-size-fits-all mentality and give yogis another option. “What’s on the market for yoga equipment is a little drab and underwhelming. A lot of it has a hippie vibe,” says Guerra. “All demographics are flocking to yoga. We wanted to make something a little more timeless that is functional at the same time.” The duo, who together make up the industrial design studio Visibility, paired up with the recreational clothing brand Outdoor Voices to create a beautifully designed yoga kit that still has all of the functionality of high-performance recreational gear.
The idea for the set, say Guerra and Sonrab, was to design yoga products that wouldn’t look out of place if it were left out in the living room. Their Shapes Bundle comprises a resistance band for strengthening, a triangular and a rectangular block for support, a roller for leg stretches and a mat. Each piece is thoughtfully-designed, with strong curves and earthy hues, and incorporates clever design elements that will come in handy in yoga class. The rectangular block, for example, has holes cut into is center that provide a nifty handle for carrying to the studio or moving around during class. The yoga mat is made from two layers of laminated felt–a low density felt on top is for cushioning and a harder, thinner felt on the underside grips the floor so the mat stays put.
The felt used for the mat is all natural, as are the birch wood and cork that the blocks and roller are made from. “There’s something nice and poetic about making them out of natural materials since it’s something you’re using to get healthier,” says Sonrab. By contrast, most yoga blocks are made from foam, and your-run-of-the-mill Lululemon yoga mats are made from synthetic materials like polyurethane, which poses a threat to your health and the environment.
The Shapes Bundle was designed for Wallpaper’s Handmade exhibition, and right now only exists as a prototype. Most of the products in the kit will be available for purchase through Outdoor Voices by Christmas, though the mat will make its own debut later next year.