Bundle of joy: the making of Handmade 2015's 'Shapes Bundle' fitness kit, by Outdoor Voices and Visibility
The dull aesthetics of yoga accessories have long been due a revamp, so for Handmade 2015 we wanted to update the ubiquitous clinical, low-quality blocks and mats. Design studio Visibility and apparel brand Outdoor Voices took our concept one step further, producing functional shapes that can be used in all fields of exercise – the 'Shapes Bundle' fitness kit.
Combining sculpture and practical materials, the kit resonates with Visibility's trademark purist aesthetic. Since coming together in 2012, founders Joseph Guerra and Sina Sohrab have been creating raw pieces with a focus on functional materials. When approached by Wallpaper*, Sohrab says that they looked to the core ideas around fitness as a concept. 'Fitness accessories,' he explains, 'are ultra-ergonomic.' This perception immediately connects them with Outdoor Voices, the Austin / New York based brand who make 'apparel for recreation'. The company creates a world of wellness with their active-wear, promoting exercise as a lifestyle, not just a hobby – a philosophy successfully expressed through the 'Shapes Bundle' kit.
The kit's unique design takes two distinct forms. When tied together it resembles a pared down – but playful – architectural puzzle. In pulling apart the bundle, its organic details become clear. Sohrab says they wanted to use 'natural materials for a project that centres around the body', so settled on a mix of birch wood, cork and natural felt. The latter was used to create the set's yoga mat, laminated from two different sheets of the material; a softer, body-cushioning layer for the top surface and a harder, floor-gripping one on the underside. Wrapping the bundle together is a fabric 'resistance band' sourced from the materials yard at Outdoor Voices' LA fabric mill.
Each piece is carefully sculpted, from the delicate grooves in the light cork triangle block, the 12 sides of the birch wood roller and the square yoga block's user friendly curves. The whimsical structures of the objects – with their conspicuous 'building block' style – are enhanced by the subtle play of contrasting colours; the bold blue of the square block stands out amongst the raw beige of the wood and cork when bundled, an admirably design-focused, and practical, addition to any healthy household.
The 'Shapes Bundle' fitness kit has also traveled since its debut at the Handmade exhibition in Milan – it had a moment to shine at NYCxDesign's Sight Unseen OFFSITE event, as well as a party celebrating the collaboration at Outdoor Voices' New York studio.
As originally featured in the August 2015 edition of Wallpaper* (W*197)