Project:   Health Club Kalorias L.A.V. main dressing rooms refurbishment

Location: Linda-a-Velha, Oeiras, Portugal

Date: 2012 – Construction in progress

Client: Salgado e Vaz, Lda

Project Area: 300m²

Photography: Estúdio AMATAM


The Kalorias Fitness Club Group is a company in the health business, which expansion to Lisbon area resulted in a strategy of acquiring existing Clubs and remodeling them in the likes of their brand. We were kindly invited to visit their first unit acquired in the Lisbon area, and immediately we identified with the plan presented to us, an ambition project meant to create a mystic never seen in any Health Club in Portugal.

This Health Club, located in Linda-a-Velha, outskirts of Lisbon, as a remarkable significance in the Fitness history in Portugal. In 1998 was the biggest Health Club unit in the country; however the passing of the years resulted in a continuous degradation of this leisure mega-structure follow-on by the lack of investment and maintenance, turning it into nowadays in a low standard level facility for this cluster of activity.

Having this building a significant size, 153 meters of length by 32 meters of width, over two levels, there was the need of planning the intervention area by area in order to keep the facility running in continuous. The Fitness dressing areas were the first to be intervened, concluded and here presented.

First of all, is important to understand the context and the assumptions behind the project. For the client this renovation should translate feelings related with glamour, elegance, comfort, exquisiteness, and most important, should somehow demystify the image of traditional Heath Clubs in Portugal and translate a presence of Portuguese cultural elements.

This challenge led us in a path of searching for materials and iconography that could be transformed into ideas for the creation of a unique aesthetic in this kind of installations. Inspiration arrived from the Portuguese baroque environments, where often were used gold elements and wood exuberantly crafted objects; from the traditional Portuguese tiles present in most monuments and historic buildings, inside and outside; from the simple and daily life cork, a material transversal to Portuguese culture, with such rich texture, color, and physical qualities; and last but of extreme importance the motivational and life inspiring poetics of our Portuguese writers that can be used to improve every men and women performance . All these elements were combined and reinterpreted into a particular architectural language.

Since this is a renovation project of an existing structure, programmatically was important to clarify the different areas in use at the health club dressing room. The entrance leads to a corridor where you can enter at on one side to the dressing areas itself and on the other side to the toilets. The dressing areas are divided into two different zones and each zone as two clusters of lockers, fragmenting the space so the feeling of being in a living room is created, with a more comfortable scale. Also to emphasize this living room feeling, the ceiling heights were manipulated, transforming volumes and by that distinguishing circulations from the seating areas.  At the other opposite side of the dressing areas the showers were placed, separating the wet from the dry zones. Aesthetically speaking, it was given a more luxury feeling to the most permanent staying areas, the corridor and the dressing area. The careful use of the materials aim to create an exquisite atmosphere, with different textures to the touch, reflective and mirror surfaces, wood and crafted objects, with colors as gold and black expressing luxury, and all combined creating a renascent painting with contemporary pigments. On the service areas, toilets and showers, the feeling is more minimalist and modern, taking however use of the same color palette and creating details with handcrafted tile panels, or designed quotes of Portuguese poets. This way it is intended to embrace both modernity and tradition, exclusivity and popularity.

This strategy was replicated in both masculine and feminine dressing areas, changing however the color theme, in little details where clearly help to identify and personalize this two areas: pink purple for women and vivid orange for men.

Ultimately this space design aims to create feelings and reactions from the users, aims so that anyone would stay indifferent to it, aims to surprise and dazzle, but also to relax and over look the outside world. A place for retreat, where in the end of the day you would want to get back into.

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