Gyms are usually utilitarian, offering spartan spaces in which to work out, sweat a whole lot, and hopefully shower afterwards. Visually pleasing design is an afterthought, if it’s considered at all. But why shouldn’t we shake things up a bit? After all, you can easily have a space that looks halfway decent and still functions as expected.
Thankfully, more and more gyms are getting the memo. Among them is Waterbeat Society, the first and only hydrospinning center in Italy. Located in Milan, it’s got a highly memorable (and Instagrammable) look courtesy of NoMade Architecture and Interior Design.
Located just around the corner from the city’s iconic Duomo, Waterbeat Society is a two-level space decked out in a soothing palette of blues, greens, and violets, emphasizing its connection to aquatic sports. While a lot of standard gyms are more evocative of grunts and body odor than anything else, Waterbeat hits the trendy #wellness vibe with living plants, neon signs reading “BE A HYDROLOVER,” billowing curtains in rich marine blue velvet, and spaces that feel minimalist and welcoming all at once.
The architects explain: “Waterbeat Society was conceived and designed as an innovative place, significantly different from any fitness gym you are used to. WBS is a place where ‘cool,’ ‘friendly,’ and ‘pop’ are the key words, connoting an innovative character able to convey a fresh and colorful mood. The goal was to make you feel immediately Californian atmospheres. The colors of the project focus on a range of green, light blue, and blue, [with] walls and ceilings pervaded by the freshness of these colors.”
On the ground floor is a reception area with a small waiting room and three massage cabins, two of which are housed within velvet “cocoons.” The workout spaces themselves are underground, including a swimming pool that fits 13 hydrospinning bikes, another waiting area, and several changing rooms.
The NoMade team says they wanted the space to feel fresh above all else, accented by unexpected materials and bright colors that are “the ingredients that characterize Waterbeat Society.”
They add: “From the waiting room, it is possible to see the swimming pool through a large window. Through a long, white, and bright corridor, a sort of chromatic pause, you can access the male and female changing rooms and the pool. The access to the pool is through a short staircase, where the back wall is covered in water-repellent wallpaper, on which there are [a] logo and foliage.”
“The niches, used for storing exercise tools and showers, are covered with the same tiles present in the reception. Changing rooms are characterized by very fresh accents. Here, there is a game of two colors, water blue for women and blue for men, while the showers are covered in white tiles, with black grout in this case.”
The fact that it feels so much cooler than the average gym probably says more about the standard lack of ornamentation than it does about any real innovation, but it works nonetheless. Do you care about whether your gym has an interesting look? Do aesthetics enhance your experience while working out, just like they might in other aspects of your life?