Social media “fitness influencers” make everything look easy, from performing circus-worthy yoga poses to dawning fresh faces after grueling workouts. But Instagram-perfect shots aren’t always what they seem, and some of them perpetuate unrealistic ideals of health and fitness. Still, it’s not hard to see why many people find them inspiring.
Naturally, the Insta-famous (and those who aspire to be them) are always looking for supremely photogenic places to work out, but that doesn’t automatically mean it’s all about looks and selfies. You might not think the setting has much to do with the quality of the exercise, but if a beautiful studio helps motivate you to stick to your routine, it’s probably worth seeking out.
Among the most visually striking fitness studios in Los Angeles is Paris Pilates, which is every bit as chic as it sounds, despite all the sweat. While many other boutique fitness facilities find a cool, relaxing minimalist vibe most appealing, Paris Pilates takes things in a slightly more Baroque direction, all the while remaining just as effortless as the stereotypical fashionable French woman.
From the moment you step in the door, this pilates studio has the feel of a shop on the Champs Elysées or Rue Saint-Honoré. Set in a bright modern space on Sunset Boulevard, it gets much of its immediate impact from its color palette, which includes Paris Pink and Chalky White from Portola LA on the ceiling and walls, respectively, as well as white oak, brass details, and a striking deep blue-green accent wall behind the lobby desk.
Oversized mirrors with scrolled, gilded frames lean against a wall behind the machines, while a neon logo captures the mood of the city after dark. Outside, a mural reads “Let them do Pilates.” Somehow, even the pilates machines arranged on the chevron hardwood floors have a sort of casual elegance to them.
Paris Pilates creative director Jenny Williams is the multitalented mastermind behind the aesthetics of the space, taking inspiration from summers spent in the city, where she picked up on some essential style elements that are distinctly French.
She explains: “I was in Paris and after a long walk near the Seine, I rested for a glowy evening picnic. I dreamt what I wanted to bring back to LA. I wanted the feeling of French flair, of French carefree elegance, and feminine strength. I wanted a place that would transport me to Paris everyday. A place that had beautiful creaky floors like my apartment in the Marais, wooden beam ceilings painted a soothing color, modern lighting, and gilt mirrors.”
“I wanted to hear the music I heard when I was eating at my favorite restos or at the discotheque in Pigalle and feel my body move in a rhythmic pattern on the Reformer. A true experience-based environment was born. A story for the senses. We have equipped the studio with all you need to take a beautiful class, be inspired, dream of design, buy a French pharmacie favorite, and take home a souvenir.”
The results are intentional without being overly precious. They’re not the sort of self-conscious stylings you often see in contemporary businesses that are trying a little too hard to attract the Instagram crowd, like backdrops with a self-promoting hashtag painted onto them.
As you may have already guessed, you can check out more photos of the space on the pilates studio’s Instagram page.