Interiorssneak peeks

Sneak Peek: Poke Acupuncture

by Amy Azzarito

I’m a firm acupuncture believer. When Grace and I were about 20 cities into the 30 city, Design*Sponge at Home book tour, I got off the plane at JFK and couldn’t turn my head to the right. I made an acupuncture appointment while we were still waiting for our bags. Since then, I’ve gone for frequent tune-ups, but I haven’t found a place in New York as beautiful as Poke Acupuncture in LA. After graduating from UC Berkeley, Russell Brown came home to Los Angeles and worked in the film industry for several years. “I loved it,” he said “we made some good movies and some terrible movies, but it was fun.” He was out at breakfast one day when he overheard a woman at the neighboring table talk about enrolling in acupuncture school. Even though, he had never even had acupuncture, much less thought of it as a career path, something just clicked and the next day, he went down to the school and enrolled. Russell explains, “I saw a window open and jumped through.” After graduating from acupuncture school, Russell worked in several clinics, which gave him time to think about the wellness clinic aesthetic – which is often seemed to be either a fake-doctor’s office sterility or a sort of faux-Asian zen spa – before opening his own.  He didn’t like either of those options. Instead, Russell wanted to create a space filled with whimsy and color but that would also feel safe and comforting. A space that would make someone feel better, if one was sick. Russell’s hope is that the aesthetics of his studio work in tandem with the acupuncture to help patients feel lighter, alleviate pain and give them an outlet for their stress. I have a little stress that could use some help. I’m planning on checking out Poke next time I’m in LA.  –Amy Azzarito

Image above: This is my kokedama window. These are Japanese string gardens that I made from a special soil that clumps together like clay. I’m better with people than I am with plants. Photograph: Bethany Nauert

Image above: Pipe desk made from an old door I found on the street and some pre-cut pipes from the hardware store. Photograph: Bethany Nauert

Image above: My waiting area/personal napping spot. Photograph: Bethany Nauert

See more of Poke Acupuncture after the jump!

Image above: Pipe shelving unit I made.  As with the desk, the fact this is both level and weight-baring, I consider nothing short of miraculous. I try not to touch it too much as I don’t want to jinx anything. Photograph: Bethany Nauert

Image above: Photograph: John Arsenault

Image above: All the art in here is either swap meet finds or the generous donations of my patients. I like the idea that my patients should come in and see their own work on the walls. Most of the large photographs are donated by an amazing local photographer, John Arsenault, of whose work I am obsessed. Photograph: Bethany Nauert

Image above: String art wall installation.  I used to draw these when I was a kid so I decided to make a giant one out of yarn. Photograph: John Arsenault

Image above: I try to keep my treatment rooms relatively bare and lined them with warm wood to make my patients feel tucked away and safe. Photograph: Bethany Nauert

Image above: Mason jar lights. Photograph: John Arsenault

Image above: I bought 27 vintage bird houses from the swap meet a few weeks. I love them but I have moments where I also think “Really, Russell? Really you need 27 bird houses?” Photograph:  John Arsenault

Image above: Photograph: John Arsenault

Image above: Photograph: Bethany Nauert

Image above: My little shop. It’s such a dream. Photograph: John Arsenault

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  • The bird houses are amazing and the one gallery wall is one of my favorites of all time, with the manly photograph wall coming in a close second.

  • Such beautiful and inspiring place… I loved the window lined with plants, I am trying to do that in my study too and the art wall is fabulous idea. Thank you for sharing such inspiring place :-)

  • WOW, I am so moved by Russell’s place, style, attitude and humor! I am a devoted fan and believer of acupuncture, as well. I want to do this, practice this, live in this studio! What a shop. What a dream. I am not usually moved to post a comment, but could not pass this up. So incredible, it was screaming my name! Thanks!

  • My first thought upon reading his story and seeing his environs was that this person TRULY lives a creative life. Yowsa. I love his story and the way he approaches designing his space. Thanks for sharing and yes, acupuncture is the best way to avoid unnecessary surgeries for neck/back pain. Love it!

  • What a lovely and soothing space – unlike any healing “offices” I have ever experienced. As a acupuncture devotee, I think it is great he is bucking the aforementioned design trends within his industry. Thanks for offering this unique Sneak Peek!

  • Wow, what a beautiful, engaging treatment space. That Russell has thought about the well being of his clients when creating it, oozes from it and speaks volumes about his nature….

  • I almost never comment, but this? THIS is exactly how I want my home to feel. So gorgeous and so full of character and life. (I think I’ll be staring at these pictures for the rest of the day . . . )

  • As someone who is getting ready to start a masters in acupuncture and oriental medicine, this is so inspiring! I too am a bit turned off by the “asian inspired” decor in clinics – sorry but that’s not my culture and nor would I want to appropriate it – there has got to be another way! His attitude and perspective are so refreshing and I got such a kick out of the text on his website. I’m gonna take this along with me for the next 3+years of schooling and see what happens on the other side!

  • I am a true believer in acupuncture and massage. My go to cure.
    Nice to see he found a creative way of using his hands in healing way and still kept up his artistic side with a side of humor – Poke that’s funny especially for a kind of “massage parlor”!

  • I have continually been recommended acupuncture (I also do live in the Bay Area, after all), and my mom has even been. But, I’ve never myself tried it but THIS article single-handedly :P is pushing me to do it! YES, I’ve decided, I will make myself an appointment…

  • WOW.

    Super inspirational. What a beautiful, down to earth space…
    Wish we lived in L.A… oh well, Australia will have to do!
    Thanks for sharing :)

  • If I had been a patient in this space, I think the acupuncture would have gone MUCH better. It’s inspired.

  • What a wonderful work/treatment space. I’d feel better just waiting for a treatment. I love the picture walls. I’m already thinking if I can do similar. I have the pictures stored in boxes.

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