Dubai-based interior architecture firm VSHD Design has completed its third concept health club in collaboration with the homegrown Dubai brand, Warehouse Gym. The Springs Warehouse Gym, which has been shortlisted for the 2019 Dezeen Awards, emanates a cosmic vibe while also maintaining the underlying brutalist and underground fight-club aesthetic that drives the design concept across the various branches.
“Dubai has become a very competitive market, with everyone striving to introduce projects that really stand out,” notes Rania Hamed, founder of VSHD Design. “From restaurants and bars to gyms and spas, Dubai’s international community is seeking hip, design-focused atmospheres that offer more than traditional spaces.”
With the Springs Warehouse Gym, VSHD continues to build upon the brand’s successful openings in Dubai’s O14 and D3 districts. Designed for serious workouts, the ‘underground’ feel of the Warehouse Gyms has positioned brutalist architecture at the core of VSHD’s design strategy. Marked by honest, unpretentious materials, the architectural style embraces a repetition of modular elements, including exposed concrete columns and beams. Using existing structural elements, and building new ones, VSHD designed and strategically positioned raw stamped concrete walls, columns and beams to define distinct zones for different aspects of training, ensuring that each area would be conducive to the hard-working, committed attitude of the brand’s clientele. Completing the structural design, the firm erected a coffered ceiling featuring artificial light wells that further emphasize the underground feel of the space.
Spring Warehouse Gym’s coffered ceiling conceals an elaborate network of advanced LED warehouse lighting technology that ultimately defines the ambiance of each space. Above the ceiling, VSHD designed a customized grid structure with an elaborate track system running in all directions throughout the space. The flexible tracks are fitted with two kinds of spotlights that focus on the gym’s equipment and stations, adjusted in number and intensity according to the desired lighting of each training zone.
“The psychology of working out has evolved into greater focus on the space itself, which elevates the importance of lighting,” explains Hamed. “As opposed to the singular, fully-lit environment of a traditional gym, we have created a variety of moods through lighting that accentuates the individual spaces and activities.” Vertical lighting is equally integral in the gym’s design, with LED lights inserted behind a series of 8 strategically-placed circular mirrors. The LED lights provide mood lighting that reflects softly on the stamped concrete texture of the walls. Based on the concept of infinity and beyond, glancing into the oversized circular mirrors creates the illusion of an infinite light tunnel. The strategic positioning of the mirrors provides a seemingly endless repetition of circles, collectively reflecting to create a sense of unlimited space and light, interacting in symbiotic ways.
Through the incorporation of brutalist design elements, optical illusions and state-of-the-art variations of light, VSHD has replicated the retro feel of an old fight club, subtly injected with contemporary luxuries and cutting-edge prime training equipment. The reception area and locker rooms breathe vintage feels into Springs Warehouse Gym, with elements of red and white infused into reflective mirrors, flooring and bathroom tiling, and the optical tease of diagonal lines across the locker doors. The past is carried forward through a complement of contemporary touches, including the use of black tile grout to bind red and white tiles, and the selection of gold finishes on modern lighting fixtures, bathroom faucets, and locker numbers.
As Dubai continues to emerge as a core of Middle Eastern design, the Springs Warehouse Gym can be proudly stamped as ‘Made in Dubai’. From basic construction materials to the VSHD-designed grid system, mirrors, furnishings, and finishes, the entire project was locally manufactured and procured. However, on the wings of international awards for work on the D3 Warehouse Gym, as well as subsequent enhancements and refinements incorporated into the Springs location and two additional Dubai locations already underway, VSHD Design sees an opportunity to export the innovative concept to global markets. “Our gyms represent a different design approach that addresses the leading edge of fitness and wellness trends,” says Rania Hamed. “I believe that this homegrown brand is a concept that can be easily implemented anywhere in the world.”