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Chris Soria Works Out on the Mural for New Equinox E 92nd Club in NYC.

Chris Soria for the Equinox 92nd club

Chris Soria for the Equinox E 92nd

With a brand mantra like “it’s not fitness, it’s life,” it’s easy to see why Equinox would want to

collectively weave in local elements that lay out on the streets of the Upper East Side into their new club facility on East 92nd and 3rd to foster full alignment of mind, body and an authentically soulful experience. To achieve this, Equinox enlisted ST.ART Artist, Chris Soria to help interpret an inspirational mural piece bridging “substance with style” for its clients. ST.ART Creative Director Khadijat Oseni reached out to both Equinox and Chris Soria to discuss everything from art, design, lifestyle mantras and what teaming up together was like.

ST.ART: What is Equinox’s general philosophy and how does it relate to its design initiatives?

EQUINOX: Our brand philosophy is simple. “It’s not fitness, it’s life.” We think art is an important component for an inspired life.

ST.ART: Do you tend to commission local artists that are native to the areas of your club locations or expand more broadly?

EQUINOX: We first try to find artists that work in the region. Much like we try to work with interior designers from a region. It doesn’t always work out that way but part of our efforts is to celebrate the locality with the design and art.

ST. ART: What attracted you to Chris Soria’s work and aesthetic?

EQUINOX: Chris’s work is compelling because he established a set of rules that he then allows himself to selectively break. For us that is like Jazz, like fitness.

Chris Soria for the Equinox 92nd club

Chris Soria for the Equinox E 92nd

ST. ART: What was it like collaborating with Equinox on this mural?

CHRIS SORIA: Equinox requested a design involving the geometric, abstract configurations, designs I’ve developed over the past few years. Much of my mural portfolio consists of figurative work incorporating tessellation and sacred geometry, but often I get requests for purely geometric, non-representational design. In this case, Equinox wanted to activate 7 walls along a three-story staircase that connects different parts of the gym. They wanted clean and rigid designs in gray scale that incorporated areas of negative space as the design moves through the staircase. I prepared a few design comps for their preview, which got us on the same page and we moved forward from there.

ST. ART: How long did it take you to complete the piece?

CHRIS SORIA: It took about ten sessions to complete. I had to paint late night while the gym was closed since I was painting in spray paint. I was simultaneously working on 2 other large-scale mural projects this summer so I ended up spreading out my work sessions at Equinox throughout the month of July. I ended up hiring a few of my artist friends for assistance as well.

ST. ART: What feelings do you hope to evoke with the geometric mural? How are you hoping guests feel when interacting within the space?

CHRIS SORIA: The design is meant to evoke strength, succession, and building upon a foundation. The various interlocking 3-dimensional blocks both support each other and allow higher tiers to be constructed. Just like a solid exercise routine.

EQUINOX: Adding to Chris’s point, we hope the geometric mural is inspiring and that we are embellishing/honoring their effort with creativity.

Chris Soria for the Equinox 92nd club

Chris Soria for the Equinox E 92nd

ST. ART: What do you think about the mass commercial appeal street art is having as a viable art form for brands & institutions that may have overlooked it in the past?

EQUINOX: For us, we do not classify the work as “street art.” We think it is just straight up art. The choice of canvas is less important. It just so happens that a number of the forward-thinking artists happen to be bombing the street. We find the work appealing because it captures and conveys emotion quickly and intensely. This may also be associated with the canvas of the street and the speed in which the observer digests art.

CHRIS SORIA: “Street art” as a term has been misappropriated, but has currently become the name for any kind of mural or artwork on a public or private wall, or even in gallery settings. In truth, the art movement of Street Art has passed and what we have now is “post street art” or “neo-muralism”. It’s a lot of regurgitated styles and subject matter and self-referential content. “Street Art” however has become a marketable term and so even murals painted for commercial purposes are referred as street art, however most of it is, in essence, quite the opposite.

ST.ART: Generally speaking, what do you love most about interior design and what’s your definition of good design?

EQUINOX: We love that interior design can be the foundation for people to engage with a brand. If you are inspired by your environment, you are most likely going to use it. That means more fitness and better results.

ST.ART: All in good fun, are you actually a fan of gyms/working out?

CHRIS SORIA: I enjoy exercise and the services and equipment that a gym such as Equinox provides. Climbing up and down the stairs, and up and down the ladders, while working on this mural was quite a workout . It was fitting for the job that my body was sore after painting!

Photos by Matthew Gilbertson

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