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Can design dial up the energy level of a workout?

Vive Active, designed by Siren Design, is energising the Pilates workout with an immersive sound and light experience.

Rebecca Gross


March 15th, 2018

Pilates studios are often designed to a similar formula: a relaxing (sometimes bland or sterile) space with white walls and ceiling, timber flooring and natural or atmospheric lighting. Vive Active in Warringah Mall on Sydney’s Northern Beaches is bucking the trend and challenging the formula. With colourful and high-energy lighting and music, Vive Active has cranked up the dial on the Pilates workout.

Vive Active Pilates studio, designed by Siren Design.

Co-founders Guy Leech, and John and Louise Keats engaged Siren Design and lighting consultant Mike Gearin who brought his skills and experience from the Vivid Sydney lighting festival.

Their brief was to create a fun and inspiring environment with an immersive sound and light experience. It needed to break the stereotype of Pilates studios and appeal to women and men alike. “Siren’s approach to this subversive experience was to create a humanised, all-sensory experience using specialist lighting, sound, movement and tactility of materials to facilitate detachment of the every day,” says CEO Mia Feasey.

Vive Studio, a new pilates studio. Designed by Siren Design.

At its most basic, the space has a charcoal-coloured floor and white walls and ceiling. That is until the lights go on. Then the high-tech LED lighting illuminates the space, drenching it in a dynamic and ever-changing rainbow of colours. Colour and lighting can affect the ambience of an environment, impact of a workout and people’s mood. At Vive Active it is used to generate heart-pumping energy and an uplifting atmosphere to positively influence results and build community spirit.

Th studio at Vive Active uses an immersive lighting experience.

Siren used materials that would bounce, transmit and absorb the light and colour: a glazed wall between the studio and reception; flat-finish ceiling and low-sheen walls; mirror panels on the studio wall and ceilings; and a polished black marble reception desk. The glazed wall between the studio and reception area has an adhesive dichroic finish that appears to change colour from blue to magenta to yellow depending on the angled from which it is viewed. 

Capitalising on social media as a marketing vehicle, Siren created a selfie wall with a quote by Rumi on a black background. At the reception, a neon light reads “Long Live You” and provides another Instagrammable moment.

Designed to lift members out of the daily grind, Vive Active has reimagined the Pilates studio, energising the atmosphere, music, workout and ultimately members.

Photography by Murray Harris Photography.

Full dissections for this project can be seen here.

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