This week’s post is something I’ve wanted to do for a while now. I go to so many places and see such great designs that need to be showcased. This week is an awesome gym design.
I love to try new things and push myself into the unknown. It is, after all, the only way we grow!
“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” – Neale Donald Walsch
In May of this year I started a new workout regime. The training program is like a post apocalyptic boot camp come nightclub.
A short yoga warm-up gets the blood flowing, then, on to twenty plus workout stations, some cardio and some strength based. Two minutes per station, with a short break to “switch” in between. All while a DJ sets the tempo with thumping EDM, strobe lights and a smoke machine straight out of a nineties warehouse party, and an MC / trainer who inspires you with shouts of motivation pushing you to be your best. A short stretch finishes off this high intensity sixty-minute session.
An unforgiving, raw, industrial come rustic aesthetic houses Switch Playground, a completely new way of training and a completely new way to approach gym design.
Switch Johannesburg is housed in the remains of a run down theatre.
The designer, Deborah Coppin, says,
“the site really spoke for itself. Being an abandoned theatre it provided a great back drop to the “industrial” warehouse look”
The design ethos reflects the purposeful no BS nature of the training and is evident from the moment you enter the facility.
A Rustic timber sign greets you at the entrance. You are lured down a dark black painted tunnel by a polished concrete floor, and a sugar skull kettlebell painted bright yellow at the end of the hall. Splashed along the walls are motivational quotes, like “welcome to your new life”. These make a bold statement and give you a taste of the training to come.
At the end of the corridor you are greeted by a modest waiting area. This houses merchandise, a reception desk and an oversized timber door with “push to play” painted on it, in the brand’s signature yellow. Simple bag washed (rough) plaster walls, exposed brickwork with raw timber shelving and benches all add to the rustic / industrial style.
As you enter the “playground” you are met with a grandstand painted in grey “stoep” paint, finished with raw untreated steel angle iron to keep with the rustic look. The yellow painted timber balustrade, on the exposed brickwork, has been reconstituted from the old theatre, adding further sustainability to the already effortless design. Industrial style polished concrete floors, rustic painted rough plaster work and exposed ducting all keep to the design style.
Once you get onto the training floor the true focus of this space is immediately evident. Everything, from the rubber training mats to the top quality equipment, from the exposed hanging steel beams down to the expansive mirrors, it all screams of an environment where fitness and training are held above all else and anything else can fit in or f@%koff.
The rustic and industrial aesthetic suits the space because Switch needs a simple no fuss environment to allow complete focus on the task at hand. In my opinion the space does so by championing function first and allowing the character of the rough elements to show through in the design.
Designed by Deborah Coppin of Insight Design Studio
If you want a training experience unlike any other be sure to try Switch. They have locations in Cape Town, Johannesburg and New York City. If you make it to the Joburg branch be sure to say hi, I’m there three times a week. Your first class is free, book here.
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