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Behind the Design of Solidcore, Michelle Obama's Favorite Studio

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Michelle Obama-approved boutique fitness studio Solidcore, home to one of the toughest workouts in Washington, is in expansion mode, with a brand-new location now open in Shaw and another on the way near Chinatown. David Shove-Brown, partner at Studio3877, had designed the first Solidcore in Adams Morgan, but there was one caveat to working on the new locations. "[Solidcore Owner Anne Mahlum] said, 'If you're going to do a second one with us, you have to do a workout," according to Shove-Brown, who is an avid runner and an all-around fit guy. "It's a gnarly workout," he said. "I didn't really pray for death but I thought it was coming. It's 45 minutes and it's intense."

We're equal parts intrigued and terrified by that statement. Shove-Brown walked Racked DC through the Solidcore in Shaw and explained how he and Mahlum created a gym that balances raw industrial elements with soft, feminine touches. Located at the new Progression Place mixed-use development, the space was originally meant for retail. Shove-Brown and Mahlum added a wall made out of wooden pallets and ripped out the wood floors to showcase the concrete underneath and to stop the studio's 12 MegaFormer machines from bouncing.

The space is open, and each machine has access to the mirror so you can check out your form. Studio3877 also installed cool blue track lights under the mirrors, and delicate Flavor Paper wall coverings add color to the front wall and the bathroom walls. For that industrial look, scribblings on the concrete were kept in place, and Solidcore has even added their own inspirational thoughts in Sharpie.

The Solidcore name is spelled out with simple aluminum letters at the front of the space and the back of the space. "The name is dead-on. It's about building core strength," Shove-Brown said. And vintage cubbies near the front door reception and retail space have become a gathering place for Solidcore students. "People are high-fiving and hugging and celebrating that we made it through," Shove-Brown said. "Everyone is welcome and encouraged here."

Shove-Brown is currently working on the newest Solidcore at 433 Massachusetts Avenue, which he expects to be finished by beginning of May. Check out Solidcore's schedule for their Adams Morgan and Shaw locations here.
· Solidcore [Official Site]
· Studio3877 [Official Site]
· Solidcore's Opening in NoMa, With More Studios in the Works [Racked DC]