The Body Lab is a very peculiar chained-branded fitness center, where people get to familiarize with each other and work together to create a friendly sports community space. It being located in a commercial environment, the owner specifically asked for the gym to accommodate a small café. We rearranged the spirit of the space accordingly, as a gym and a café compactly “nested” together.
Departing from the conventional method of severing bar, lounge area, changing rooms and storage modules, we parceled out and re-mixed these spatial functions to create a social space with flowing lines and sight lines directed towards a core fitness area. Through deliberate“blending” and “fluidification”of spacial functions, we opened up room for interaction that would not have been available otherwise within the traditional constraints of gyms and cafés. Before the course starts, trainees can wait by the bar while sipping coffee, or they may sit between locker modules and socialize with their peers, alternatively, they can also watch and learn from group training sessions. During class, trainees might also catch a glimpse of other fellow trainees having coffee, talking or changing clothes through translucent partitions: this transparency might be very conducive to fostering esprit de corps, and to embodying a concept of “community” increasingly relegated to the virtual world in a visible spatial expression.
In order to achieve an aura of “community” and to strengthen spacial identity we avoided the overtly flashy stereotypical elements often associated to gyms, opting instead for simpler materials – cement block bricks as the material of choice, while reserving a scheme of bright colors for equipment, storage furniture and other infrastructure. This color system is reminiscent of 1980s workshops: pale green bar, orange-red handrails and fire doors and the dark green cabinets, are part and parcel of a nostalgic throwback to that era saturated with a sense of equality and stories waiting to be told.