Getting in shape, socialising and staying on top of work is typically a juggling act of time and travel between multiple locations – each one requiring bespoke personal design in order to complete these tasks to any effect. To meet these various requirements, Waind Gohil + Potter Architects (WG+P) has created a complete wellness centre design for Core Collective.
The project, in west London’s Holland Park, is centred around adaptable pay-as-you-go gym facilities but makes proud use of open design to encourage visitors to stick around before or after a workout, using the space as a lifestyle destination where they can meet work colleagues or friends, or even catch up on personal admin.
“Gyms have traditionally not been inclusive. Rather they have been esoteric/private members’ clubs,” explains Phil Waind, director with WG+P. “The Core is a social/open space for all. This is reflected in the non-membership policy, as well as the design of the interiors.”
The Core Collective gym is home to a range of group, instructor-led workouts, with studio interiors that adapt to the tone of each activity. The studios reshape themselves between workouts: sliding acoustic screens alter the layout of the room while a clever sound system interacts with colour-change LED lighting throughout the course of the classes.
In this way the studios “offer a range of class variations, each married to a design that [is] both contemporary but also responsive to the unique style and features of the building,” says Waind.
WG+P have not only transformed the exercise-specific zones but have also created changing rooms, staff areas, a cafe, shop and an open reception space. The practice’s choice of exposed concrete and masonry ties in the dynamism of the workouts throughout the entirety of the space.
The decision to allow online booking only and forgo a formal reception area has worked with the clear layout and the visibility of the studio spaces to uphold the importance of ease, openness and inclusion within WG+P’s design – helping to redefine notions of the gym as a one-stop shop.
“Social/circulation spaces are open/unconstrained, and do not dictate behaviour,” says Waind. “They allow for free/natural interaction between participants and trainers, and for activities other than training – such as appreciating art, socialising, dancing, reading, listening to talks…”
WG+P has been shortlisted for an NLA Award 2016 for Wellbeing – a testament to the unique user experience the practice has created – and the gym won Best Newcomer at the Tatler Gym Awards.
“Being a balance of mind and body predicates the Core as needing perfectly balanced spaces for both socialising and working out,” concludes Waind. “This new breed of gym requires great social space – so effective is the Core in this regard that some customers go there simply to eat or see art, without having a workout.”
Waind Gohil + Potter Architects’ bespoke space for Core Collective has reinvented the gym to create an all-round lifestyle destination