Known for her work on restaurants and cafes like Isla and Flat Track, interior designer Lilliane Steckel spent two years on a completely different project: transforming a cavernous 50,000-square-foot industrial warehouse into the world’s largest studio for bouldering (a type of rock climbing that doesn’t involve harnesses or ropes). The Austin Bouldering Project, which opened in November, includes a full gym, yoga studio, lounge, and 23,000 square feet of space for climbing, as well as an expansive outdoor deck set to open this spring. Steckel walks us through her process:
Inspiration: “I thought about what I want in a gym; the idea of bringing that to life for others led me to take on this project.”
Why Steckel: Her design work on the Thunder Bird Café & Tap Room captured ABP owner Zach Olschwanger’s attention; he hired her in 2014.
Toughest challenge: “Making the space feel intimate when it’s enormous.” This was Steckel’s first foray into fitness facility design.
All-encompassing: While bouldering attracts mostly male clients, Steckel wants everyone to feel welcome. “Gender-neutral ideas were an important part of the design process. ABP needed to fit Austin’s welcoming persona.” 979 Springdale Road, 512-645-4633