London-based architectural and interior design practice TR Studio has completed the second location for Dubai fitness boutique Reform Athletica.
Located in Dubai’s ICD Brookfield Place, the largest LEED Platinum project in the EMEA region, Reform Athletica’s second location merges wellness and contemporary art in a boutique fitness concept. Officially opening in October, the space has been designed by TR Studio, the London-based interior design practice led by architect Tom Rutt. And, with Reform Athletica offering a range of six different fitness classes programmed to offer a 1:1 experience in a small group setting, the space has been designed to maximise comfort and relaxation for its guests, with an extensive contemporary art collection elevating the space beyond that of a typical gym.
To host its six-signature high intensity and low impact classes, from HIIT to strength and yoga, the fitness studio is centred around two large multi-functional training rooms, as well as private training areas, a juice bar, and sophisticated changing facilities. Upon entering, you are welcomed into a dark oak panelled reception area which features a bespoke reception table as well as the Arc Bench designed by Danish studio, 101 Copenhagen. The room’s oak flooring is bordered by a dark grey microcrete surface detail which leads into the corridor taking you into the main facility. While the areas are expertly zoned, the design allows you to experience a beautiful cohesion as your move through the venue.
From the reception area you are taken through a high, arched corridor which has been designed to act as a gallery style setting with its off-white clay walls providing a clean backdrop for artworks by artists such as Picasso and Bella Freud. Leading to a central domed area which gives access to the training spaces, the floor also changes back to timber, featuring a striking circular configuration. While most fitness facilities prioritise lighting schemes that are more focused on maximising the light within a space, these communal areas boast an intimacy that is comparable to a luxury hotel, with the soft surface-mounted spotlights creating a warm and inviting atmosphere.
In the training rooms themselves this same attention to detail, and level of comfort, is applied. Neutral clay walls and structural columns finished in a scraped clay plaster add an organic beauty to the space. Hidden lighting offers further ambiance while large scale artworks elevate the space, again setting the scene of a location not normally accompanying the functionality of a gym environment. Floor-to-ceiling linen curtains add the final touch of opulence with a delicate tactility that enhances the intimacy of the space, ideal for yoga or meditation.
Not only paying close attention to the overall aesthetic, TR Studio has prioritised sustainable and circular values throughout. Responding to the fitness centre’s conscious ethos, as well as the premise of the building itself which was designed by Foster + Partners and is one of the top 20 LEED Platinum energy rated projects in the world, materials were chosen with care, from low V.O.C. finishes to responsibly-sourced linens and textiles. While using 30-50% less energy and water than other comparable fitness centres across the region, the venue also operates on a single use plastic-free policy.
Speaking of the collaborative approach between TR Studio and Reform Athletica, Rutt explains how the space fully represents the brand. “We wanted to create an environment that had the ability to be as stimulating as it was calming and enriching, much like their programme offering,” he states. “We achieved this by bringing together strong architectural elements and forms alongside contemporary art which we helped Reform Athletica to curate, covering a breadth of styles and bringing a transportive energy to the interior of the studio as you pass between areas.”
Setting Reform Athletica apart, this space is designed for those who want more than just function from a workout space. The unique amalgamation of art, wellbeing, fitness, and interior design fuses together in an experiential offering which is more attuned to our wellbeing needs. As spaces such as these become more popular and commonplace, they also present a hub where community can be found and like-minded individuals can come together – a much needed point of connection in a world which can often feel disengaged. It is proof that, in connecting different worlds and interests, kinship can be found and your exercise routine can become an integral part of both your physical and emotional wellbeing.
Imagery courtesy of TR Studio and Reform Athletica.