Struggling with your New Year’s resolution to keep fit? Exercise can be more enticing in beautifully designed surrounds. From zen studios to moody fitness hubs that look more like a nightclub than a traditional exercise room, we’ve picked out some of the most avant-garde gyms that raise the bar for design.
Gymshark, Solihull, UK
There’s a stereotype that gyms are all white walls and fluorescent lighting. But sportswear company Gymshark went in the opposite direction for its Solihull fitness centre, designed by studio Oktra. Walls are finished in inky colours, and industrial elements such as pipework and metal columns are left exposed.
Neon signs bring more of a nightclub feel to the gym, while concrete benches add some architectural credentials. It’s only open to Gymshark employees, so you’ll either need a new job or a friend with a spare door pass if you want to up your workout. But as ‘gymspiration’ goes, it hits the mark.
Warehouse Gym, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Lovers of brutalism will feel right at home in this Dubai gym, created by local studio VSHD Design. They drew on the architectural style, installing concrete bricks and flooring throughout the workout area. It’s softened somewhat by gold metal panelling, which frames the juice bar as well as the lockers.
The studio’s lead designer, Rania Hamed, describes it as ‘current, yet warm and muscular’. A glass wall surrounds the workout area – designed to lure in unsuspecting visitors to the juice bar.
Refuse, Guadalajara, Mexico
The cycle room of this Guadalajara spinning gym designed by Estudio Fernanda Orozco is all high tech bikes and neon lights, but outside it’s a different story. Vintage Tour de France posters inspired the colour palette for Refuse’s lobby and changing rooms, with bright pops of yellow, orange and green all contrasting one another.
It’s a welcome break from Refuse’s dark workout room, which hones a nightclub vibe thanks to navy blue walls and UV lights sunk into its waffle slab ceiling.
Another clever, considerate detail is the spinning room’s tiered levels, inserted so that riders can see themselves in the mirrored wall – as well as the instructor’s platform at the front.
Equinox Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Equinox has over 100 outposts across North America and London, but it’s most handsome is arguably the Vancouver fitness centre, designed by Montalba Architects to evoke a ‘sculpted canyon’. Natural materials such as bleached walnut and marble offset concrete and blackened steel inside the sophisticated hub, whose entrance is more like a hotel than a traditional gym thanks to its poured concrete floors and smoked mirror ceiling, colossal fireplace and contemporary furnishings.
The 30,000 sq ft Equinox Vancouver gym is located in an office tower in the city’s downtown, with spaces set across two floors. As well as a top-end machine area, there is a range of pilates, yoga, barre and dance studios.
BXR, London, UK
Dubbed ‘London’s most glamourous gym’ by Forbes, BXR hones an industrial aesthetic inspired by the gritty boxing gyms of New York. In reality, the fitness hub couldn’t be further away from the Bronx – it’s set across a 12,000 sq ft space in well-heeled Marylebone.
Exposed concrete pillars and soaring six-metre-high ceilings cross the space, which centres around a boxing ring and is backed by Anthony Joshua. This juxtaposition of industrial and luxe jostles for dominance throughout Maria Soliman’s interiors, with handmade, backlit mirrors and fashion-inspired details drawn from Bottega Veneta handbags in the changing rooms.
M-Fit, Beijing, China
If you’re looking for some encouragement to get down to the gym, this bright Beijing fitness hub might help. It’s filled with surprisingly vivid details, from the all-red lockerroom to the sky blue steel supports. Even the entrance to the gym is drenched in colour, lit by a glowing green light.
Ramoprimo designed the interiors, which blur kitsch and hi-tech touches. A spiral staircase connects the two floors of the gym (which includes a climbing wall) but if you’ve had a particularly hard workout, you can make the journey back down a little easier by taking the metal slide instead.
Paramount Rec Club, Sydney, Australia
‘Don’t like gyms? You’ll love ours’ says Sydney’s Paramount Recreational Club. The Los Angeles-inspired multipurpose gym takes over the previously underused rooftop of the heritage-listed Paramount Building.
Aiming for a well-rounded health and fitness experience that boosts physical as well as mental and social health, the Paramount Recreation Club was designed by Right Angle Studio and collaborator Bob Barton, who owns the 60-seat Golden Age Cinema in the building. Its simplistic, open-to-the-elements design draws on the rooftop pool spaces so popular in California, albeit without the pool (which is banned due to building restrictions).
Still, that hasn’t stopped Barton who has honed the poolside vibe with a David Hockney-esque colour palette, natural woods and modern sun parasols.