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A room full of energy

David Barton Gym

The latest in a string of high-profile gyms opens its first Boston outpost Monday. The David Barton Gym brings with it the idea that environment can elevate exercise.

“You walk in the door and the energy blows you over,” said Kevin Kavanaugh, president of the New York-based fitness company, which was founded in 1992. “We want you to say that you ‘get to come,’ not ‘have to come.’ ”

To create that see-and-be-seen setting, Kavanaugh enlisted the New York design company Studio Sofield (a company so exclusive its website is password protected) to create a space unique to Boston. Studio Sofield, which has designed for Tom Ford and Gucci, used reclaimed wood in the lobby and locker rooms with accents influenced by the East India Company and Boston’s mercantile past.


“We wanted to capture some of Boston’s traditional maritime traits so we are going with hints of Asian influence and banking,” Kavanaugh said.

That translated into a bright red hardwood floor in the locker rooms, end tables with a hint of the Orient, and a Chesterfield sofa that could have come from the set of “Wall Street.”

But don’t let the Chesterfield fool you. David Barton is no stuffy corporate gym, and Kavanaugh, who grew up on the North Shore in Wenham, said the Boston location, housed in the newly renovated Park Plaza hotel, is an ideal showcase for the company’s express-yourself DNA. Staff don’t wear uniforms. Instead, they are free to wear jeans and T-shirts as often as the latest workout gear.

But the company uses the tagline Look Better Naked to remind its sweaty fan base about what really matters. “These classes will kick your butt,” Kavanaugh said.

Jill Radsken can be reached at