SoulCycle recently opened its 20th studio in New York City in Midtown East, just steps from Grand Central. But the 46th Street studio isn’t like the other Manhattan locations—the newly opened space features a one-of-a-kind art installation: glowing orbs positioned throughout the lobby, which riders can touch to see a reflection of their “soul.” We recommend trying them out pre- and post-ride to see the shift in your aura before and after your sweat session. We spoke with SoulCycle’s VP of Design, Alan Cooke, to see what you need to know before trying out the immersive experience for yourself.
What inspired you to create this installation?
SoulCycle is so much more than a workout, it’s a 360-degree experience and art has always played an important role. As soon as our riders walk in our doors, we look for any special way to connect with them and make each studio unique. We’ve explored a number of different ways to bring art into our studios over the years so we’re thrilled to continue sharing that passion with our riders, and this experiential installation is the first of its kind across our 82 locations in North America.
How does the interactive installation work?
The one-of-a-kind orbs are displayed throughout our lobby for guests to touch and see a reflection of their “soul.” Here’s how it works:
- A pulse oximeter will read their pulse by sending infrared light through the skin to detect blood flow, then relaying the pulse to the orb’s main computer
- Custom programming controls how the rider’s heart rate triggers color and brightness, and activates special effects based on pre-defined metrics
- The computer then relays the rider’s pulse information back to each individual orb, illuminating an LED light source in multiple colors depending on the rider’s heart rate
The entire installation consists of 20 orbs of varying sizes that capture the light in different ways, with each bulb capable of producing almost any color in the visible light spectrum at varying intensity – turning tech into SoulCycle art.
What was the design process like?
We co-designed these custom-built orbs in partnership with Deeplocal, an innovation studio specializing in experiences and inventions. Since innovation is part of SoulCycle’s DNA and we’re always looking for new opportunities to utilize our spaces in unique ways, we’re thrilled that we could work with Deeplocal to bring this idea to life. We’re excited to have passersby come in and participate as the installation is on the ground floor.
What are the benefits of using the installation pre- and post-ride?
This unique installation gives our riders another personal touchpoint, both before and after class, and we’re really looking forward to seeing how each “soul” changes after a ride. Offering riders the chance to engage with the orbs gives them another unique moment to reflect on the mental and physical growth that takes place from riding. We are so excited to introduce this technology to our community and just see the reaction!
Do you think other SoulCycle studios will start incorporating design experiences like this one?
We are always looking for new and innovative ways to surprise and delight our riders so we look forward to seeing our riders’ reactions to this installation as we think about other experiences we can create in future studios.