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Reinventing the boutique fitness studio

Ohlo Studio’s new design for LA Fit takes inspiration from 1980s Los Angeles and reinvents the boutique fitness studio typology as a friendly place for all.



BY

June 21st, 2018


Nothing screams 1980s style quite like Jane Fonda’s original workout videos. They had it all: the hair, high-cut Lycra leotards, a pulsating soundtrack and candy coloured leg warmers for days. Fast forward thirty years and while so much from that era makes us cringe today, there’s still a lot to celebrate.

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“The materiality plays off high tech sports fabrics and helps deliver a playful pop aesthetic.” – Jen Lowe
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The Memphis Group continues to inspire everything from hospitality fit-outs to furniture, neon has made a comeback and pastel colours can always be relied upon to deliver memorable design outcomes.

LA Fit fitness studio designed by Ohlo Studio

LA Fit in Perth’s inner suburb of Highgate by Ohlo Studio is one such project channelling serious Jane Fonda workout vibes, but with far more restraint and minimalist sensibility.

Practice founder and interior architect Jen Lowe, looked to the pop culture of 1980s Los Angeles for inspiration and came up with a fresh, vibrant design concept that instantly appeals. Her resulting scheme isn’t overtly themed, nor is it gimmicky.

Rather, the references are judicious – a splash of colour here, a shiny surface there – making for a bright, modern interior punctuated by a series of elegant vignettes.

“While the aim is to remind people how social and uplifting exercise can be, we also wanted to create a new type of boutique fitness studio experience that merges exercise, retail and a lifestyle focus,” says Lowe.

To this end, the spatial planning is masterful in its logic, especially in a space so long and narrow.

The open plan reception and retail areas are positioned upon entry, separated by a solid desk that simultaneously functions as a storage unit, counter and meeting place.

A lightweight curtain divides the space from back-of-house and a translucent wall shields the Megaformer studio, while retaining some visual connectivity. This is the larger of the two workout rooms, with the Spin studio offering a more intimate, high intensity experience.

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“We also wanted to create a new type of boutique fitness studio experience that merges exercise, retail and a lifestyle focus.” – Jen Lowe
.

Lowe’s use of the curtain and translucent wall is as compelling as it is unexpected, as is the rest of her material palette. Perforated aluminium screens double as clothing display racks in the retail space and glossy white laminate is used elsewhere for both stylistic and practical purposes.

As Lowe explains, “The materiality plays off high tech sports fabrics and helps deliver a playful pop aesthetic that’s all about functional, hard surfaces that are easy to wipe down and maintain in a fitness studio setting.”

There’s an ease and flow between the interior’s different zones, which places the needs and comfort of customers and clients front and centre.

Pops of tangerine and glossy pink elevate the design and may convey a sense of fun and energy, but they also make the space that bit more inviting.

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Pops of tangerine and glossy pink elevate the design.
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Lowe has indeed refreshed the traditional boutique fitness studio typology and in the process proves Ohlo Studio is a name to watch.

Photography by Kristoffer Paulsen.

See another fitness studio project, R.A.W. by Travis Walton Architecture.

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