Body and mind are the core of this elevated fitness experience
Exercise is more than just a physical journey, it’s a psychological one too. This was the philosophy behind the design of The Current to create a multifunctional fitness centre worthy of the commute to the office at CIBC SQUARE. This high-intensity multi-studio fitness concept is meant to resonate with the mind and body of gym goers through deep experiential engagement.
Interior Designer: Annie Bergeron, ARIDO
Design Firm: Gensler
Photographer: Ban Rahn
With CIBC SQUARE employee health and well-being top of mind, The Current fitness centre is conveniently located on their campus and offers all the amenities of a typical fitness centre and much more. The goal was to create an elevated fitness centre experience with state-of- the-art equipment and fitness offerings, with the added feature of a lounge where employees would want to gather for fitness, sport, and wellness events.
One of the main goals of this project was to translate the psychological journey of exercising into a space that inspires gym goers in a sensory way. It is meant to aid them on their journey of renewal; from entering the gym, to digging deep to push through a workout, and eventually celebrating the euphoria of their achievement.
We managed to elevate the fitness experience by creating a light-filled, loft-like interior, conjuring a palette of warm wood, a calming monochromatic simplicity, and sweeping views of roof-top greenery and the city beyond. With this approach we created a welcome retreat from the everyday pressures and the hustle of the city.
The entrance into The Current is via a reception on the fifth floor, directly off the elevator lobby – a ‘world before’ that manifests as an entry pavilion clad in a fluted wood accent, refreshment bar, and lounge area. Here, the material palette aims to embody the perfect meld of the modern urban feel while saluting the pristine natural elements of Canada’s wilderness.
The lobby features an intimate lounge with maple wood – traditionally utilized as gymnasium flooring – used here as wall covering and wrapping onto the ceiling. Black, white, and shades of grey give the interior an industrial, modern feel while the custom art commission by Canadian artist Erin Loree sparingly introduces a shot of colour and her painterly style evokes movement and vibrant energy.
Offices for member services are housed within glass-walled rooms that are highly accessible. Patrons transition through the gym and into the velvety dark grey changing rooms. This marks the transition to the ‘world within’. Black runs heavily throughout the studio, intended to provide a contrast to the light maple wood and provide a modern feel in the space.
The lighting fixtures throughout are hung on the diagonal to create a vibrancy while a custom-designed ombre wallpaper gradient goes from dark to light in the open workout area adding a sense of energy and movement.
The gradient not only serves to draw the eye up to accentuate the dramatic ceiling height but it is also meant to act as a visual metaphor. As members move through their psychological journey of exercising, the sense of the energy rising inspires the individual, invoking the drive to keep working.
The elemental geometry of the building's exterior form inspired the herringbone patterned floor which lines up with the window mullions (vertical bars separating the window panes). The shower tiles in the changerooms are also laid in a herringbone pattern and lined up with the showerhead in each stall. This is a challenging detail to achieve but it results in a cohesiveness that puts the user at ease and is restful on the eye.
We transformed a generic, concrete office space into a vibrant, energetic, and sculpted space through architectural and customized graphic elements. The tingle of nervous energy on arrival is met with a welcome and calming arrival area.
The rewards of perseverance and grit are ever sweeter when accompanied by the expansive downtown views and the vibrancy of the city below. After a good workout, visitors can pause to recharge and recover in the velvety dark embrace of the changing rooms.
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