LONDON – ‘We’re ditching the tired model and building destinations, not just gyms.’ That’s part of an announcement on 1Rebel’s website. The nascent brand’s second branch is located in the recently redeveloped Broadgate Circle, one of London’s main business districts.
Designed by up-and-coming practice Studio C102, the 800-sqm basement – formerly occupied by mechanical systems and storage – looks more like a club than a gym, thanks to poured-concrete flooring and industrial-style detailing. In the words of Studio C102 principal Kyriakos Katsaros: ‘The brief was to make each new 1Rebel gym as individualized as possible, while still keeping to the brand promise of every class feeling like a night out – an event in its own right rather than a means to an end.’
That explains why 1Rebel Broadgate is noticeably darker than its nearby predecessor at 63 St Mary Axe. ‘By responding imaginatively to differences in the sites,’ says Katsaros, ‘we created a distinct sense of place for each. At the same time, we maintained a constant design language and an overall palette of materials, which draw inspiration from contemporary art and cutting-edge retail design rather than from the fitness sector.’
Features to look for include neon logos positioned behind dark-green welding curtains and a bespoke network of Kee Klamp rails that weaves its way (almost seamlessly) around the front-of-house space and through the interiors. The network begins as a display of iPads whose images attract the attention of people passing the street-level shopfront. The rails then become a bench, form staircase balustrades and provide a simple rack for hanging the brand’s sportswear range – only to end as seating again. Complementing a welcome desk finished in handcrafted white tiles is a black-tiled bar at the middle of the reception area, where patrons can pause for refreshments.
The building has two studios, notable for flooring made from recycled black rubber. Rumble is a circular space with rows of punchbags, and Reshape, which curves around the perimeter of the gym, contains benches and treadmills. Continuing the industrial feel, men’s changing rooms have galvanized steel lockers, as opposed to copper-panelled lockers for women, and exposed copper pipes are perfect for heating towels.
Photos – Licensed to Studio C102