More than five million people globally have used guided meditation service Headspace. There’s an invaluable ease to using their service (especially the free app) and it has opened the doors of meditation to many. Now, the acclaimed team behind the app have produced a different sort of tool for meditation: a private nature-inspired pod made in collaboration with architect duo Oyler Wu. It’s been created to provide a thoughtful reprieve from distraction and offer a dedicated space for peace. Each contains an all-wood seat facing a screen, surrounded by a nurturing, cube-like structure. And there are more than a few reasons why a digital company would begin producing something physical.
“We’re continually striving to create the most compelling invitation for people to practice meditation,” Rich Pierson, co-founder of Headspace explains. “Part of the challenge is how do you make meditation—which is an intangible exercise—tangible? The pods are an innovative way to do this and will hopefully encourage people to reevaluate how they look at meditation.” Many practice meditation for inspiration and peace, and space matters a great deal for the experience. Pierson echoes this sentiment, “We passionately believe in the power of creativity and design to inspire our community and a beautifully designed physical space can really help to achieve that.”
For those unfamiliar with meditation pods, the next question is: where does one even put it? “Initially we are envisioning the pods in public spaces,” Pierson continues. “Our new office will be the first place that they are installed but we have had initial requests from art galleries, sports and music venues.” Beyond these spaces, and for those interested, private ownership is a possibility. “We’d love to see them in people’s homes or gardens should that be beneficial to their meditation practice and they feel inspired aesthetically by the structure of the pod,” says Pierson.
We felt that a meditative space, without being completely enclosed and isolated, should offer an immersive experience
Headspace’s choice to involve Oyler Wu demonstrates some of the core principles of such an object. “We’ve long been keen on creating a physical structure in which people could practice Headspace but we needed to be sure that whomever we partnered with was passionate about the project. I met Jenny [Wu] at an event and I told her about the vision for the pods. We quickly set up a meeting with her and her husband Dwayne [Oyler]. We hit it off from the first meeting and we never looked back.” Over time and through dialogue, the pods went from concept to creation.
There are certain design elements the team at Oyler Wu found to be fundamental in the pod creation. As they explain, “We felt that a meditative space, without being completely enclosed and isolated, should offer an immersive experience. We were interested in evoking cavernous, semi-enclosed environments with an organic interior texture. At the same time, it is modern in the exterior, and reflective of the technology that is being used in its production. The juxtaposition of the pure rectangular volume is meant to promote a sense of curiosity about what it is, and the unique, plywood interior is meant to be inviting and engaging to the users of the space.”
Much of the ergonomic positioning within was determined through talks with Headspace. “What we found was that the space should be comfortable, and well-considered ergonomically, but there is a fine line between the kind of position that might help produce a sense of calm focus, and something that might put you to sleep,” the Oyler Wu team continues. This meant many physical models were developed along the way. All the while, the design team was aware of a need to balance modern, tech-driven elements with the “intimacy of a familiarity natural material,” they note. This led to the idea of making the space appear to be carved out, almost by the impact of nature. Headspace’s meditation system itself balances technology and science with an invocation of the natural and human. The pods then become an ideal complement the service—as well as a worthy first physical product from pioneers in meditation.
Images courtesy of Headspace