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Great Spaces: We Love This Edgy, Feminine Ballet Studio

A Calgary ballet studio mixes girliness with grit thanks to design Aly Velji.

Though ballet is traditionally a little, well, traditional, the second location of ballet-inspired fitness studio Barre Belle takes a more punk-rock approach. “Think of it as ballet with a bit of an edge,” explains Calgary-based designer Aly Velji, who decked out the space with a look he and senior designer Katie Mooney coined “Nuevo Neon.”

The first location was pretty feminine and had a lot of floral,” says Velji. “For this studio, we wanted to create the same vibe but make it edgier by using neon accents.” To get that gritty-yet-feminine look, Velji pulled inspiration from the mural behind the front desk—a custom neon replica of the classic Degas painting The Star, created by wallpaper design firm Rollout. The mural sets the tone for the rest of the space, from the drinking station’s electric-yellow dresser and brass faucets to the custom hot-pink wall hooks and patterned throw pillows; each hit of colour pops against a backdrop of white marble chevron tiles and white walls. For the mouldings, Velji took the traditional treatment and gave it a twist: arranged in sharp angles and painted black, “it’s a classic touch done in a modern way,” he says.

Because Barre Belle is a high-traffic space, durability was key, which is why Velji added polished concrete to the floor in the entranceway. The main studio floor, meanwhile, is given a warm vinyl finish in a classic herringbone pattern. It’s the ideal place to dance, stretch and sweat in style—tradition be damned.


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Vancouver wallpaper designers Rollout created a neon replica of a classic Degas painting specifically for this project. rollout.ca

Velji had the mouldings painted black to give the white walls a graphic touch.

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