After hearing much hype around town, I finally had the pleasure of meeting Samantha Veall, the 23 year-old owner of hip new Melbourne yoga and pilates studio YOGA 213.
The light-filled loft-like space is home to an earthy pallete with welcome splashes of yellow and natural materials that include plywood, brick, a hint of recycled timber and a great deal of white paint. The causal interior pays homage to Venice Beach, California, the birthplace of fashionable yoga. The end result is a mixture of trend, functionality and fresh-faced design.
“Yoga 213 was inspired by the months I spent in Los Angeles after completing high school,” said Samantha. “I was still recovering from an accident in April 2011 that left me with a limp due to skin grafts on the back of my knee. I discovered Maha Yoga, owned by an amazing man, Steve Ross (gay icon and member of Men at Work).
“Steve’s yoga, which is based around music, gave me the chance to forget about my challenging recovery. As a result I am in the best shape of my life. I can’t tell you how yoga can help heal not only your body but also your mind. I had to bring it home with me!”
Upon returning to Melbourne, Samantha began searching for a space. In recognising the talent within her friendship group, she recruited a squad that included Jack Fenton, who built the studio, Pete Kennon, who is studying architecture and designed the roof, and her boyfriend, Luke Henley.
“The best part of all was that we didn’t have a sketch, it was true teamwork with everyone putting in their two cents here and there. Luke and I did all the decorating and graphics. The design came together very organically with no obvious direction aside from a desire to be environmentally sound. It was important that I created a space that felt like home, not only for me but also for everyone that walked through. I needed to share the experience I had overseas which meant also drawing a great deal of inspiration from Venice Beach.”
Some pieces, like the colorful rugs, were found in the attic at home. Others, like the blue ladder and pineapples, she discovered while buying yoga mats in Yarraville. “I find that if you drive a little further out of town you can get your hands on some great pieces that don’t have the retail price attached.”
Above the shoe cupboard is a neon sign which reads ‘to be happy,’ which was Samantha’s first tattoo.“My absolute favourite is the front desk though,” she says. “Jack and I visited a recycled timber yard in Hughesville and picked out the wood, some of which was hundreds of years old. I’ll have it forever. The studio is by no means complete. As my Grandpa would say: ‘Do your best and the rest will come.’”
If you’re a yoga enthusiast who doesn’t mind their downward dog with a side of Snoop Dog, head down to Yoga 213 at 12 Garden Street, South Yarra.
Photography by Tessa Rose-Phelan.