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The Springs: An urban oasis springs up in DTLA


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The Springs founders Kimberly Helms and Jared Stein met while working on American Idiot. (Photo: Kirstin Johnson)

Downtown Los Angeles’ flourishing Arts District is getting an urban oasis (at 608 Mateo St.) devoted entirely to the good things in life, like yoga, raw food, and spa treatments to name a few. Called The Springs, and opening any second now, the industrial chic 13,000-square-foot space is the brainchild of New York transplants Jared Stein and Kimberly Helms.

The healthy duo—who met working on the American Idiot musical (Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong is an investor in the venture)—have approached The Springs much like a Broadway production, assembling a crack team of experts to get the show on the road.

And wellness is in the spotlight: They’re taking elements inspired by their favorite juice bars, restaurants, yoga studios, and healthy living centers and combining them into a unified and decidedly cool wellness experience. “We drove through this neighborhood two years ago when we were here with American Idiot and knew immediately that we wanted to open something like this….an organic, green space for the artistic community to gather in,” says Stein, 33.

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Design, Bitches (yes, that is the name of the firm) created the airy industrial space with lush indoor planters that lend a welcome splash of green to the concrete jungle that is DTLA. (Photo: Design, Bitches)

The pair, who live just two blocks away, hope the design aesthetic will appeal to locals and become a real artistic hub. “We’re both practitioners of this lifestyle, and that was the driving force for this,” says Helms, 41. “As vegans, yogis, and wellness-seekers, we saw there was a need for these elements to exist in one place and for that place to provide a breeding ground for a like-minded community.”

To that end, it will be an all-day affair. Doors will open at 7:00 a.m. for fresh juices, smoothies, and yoga, after which Stein and Helms hope you’ll stick around for wellness treatments, hang out in the lounge to catch a lecture or a film screening, and meet friends for (raw) dinner, (organic) drinks, and live music before the doors shut at 11:00 p.m. (Um, maybe just plan a personal day out of the office now?)

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LA graffiti artists Ease One at left and Angelina Christina create a massive Genesha mural in the yoga studio. (Photo: James Gallagher for The Springs)

A Sneak Peek: In the yoga studio

In the 1,200-square-foot yoga studio, with reclaimed oak flooring and a soaring skylighted ceiling, yoga director Gloria Baraquio, known for her classes at Yoga Nest in Venice, is putting together a program of bhakti, vinyasa, hatha, and kundalini classes, many of which will be set to live music. And as a bonus to class packages and unlimited memberships? Infrared sauna sessions.

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Gloria Baraquio, The Springs’ yoga director at her inspiring best. (Photo: Gloria Baraquio)

In the kitchen

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Chef Michael Falso went from cooking at Mario Batali’s Del Posto to a life-changing raw food experience, and now spearheads The Springs cuisine. (Photo: Joe Lengson)

Chefs Michael Falso and Ian Martin (who cut their teeth at Pure Food and Wine in New York City and M.A.K.E. in LA, respectively) have been busy developing an exciting raw organic, vegan menu featuring juices, like the Forager (an herbaceous blend of apple, fennel, cucumber, basil, cilantro, parsley, dill, lemon, lime, mint, and tarragon), and dishes like a raw take on Spanakopita using coconut phyllo and almond feta and a creative Seaweed Caesar.

“Their experience and knowledge of raw food has made a truly remarkable menu,” says Stein, of her search to find inspiring chefs. The restaurant will also serve organic wine and beer and seat 90 indoors, and more on an outdoor terrace.

On the wellness menu

The forward-thinking menu includes standards like hot stone massage, then things go in the deeper, detox direction with the Trager approach and cranial sacral, plus  infrared sauna sessions, gravity-based colon hydrotherapy, energy work, and the Grinsberg Method therapy (a type of hands-on energy and body work that helps to release blockages).

“By having the wellness center as a part of The Springs, we are able to provide all of the tools necessary for a person to truly transform their life,” says Helms of the range of offerings.

We can’t wait for the healthy curtain to rise. —Rachel Marlowe

For more information, visit www.thespringsla.com