Loke Architects has designed the latest Melbourne studio for pilates brand KX Pilates, with a focus on creating a bold and edgy personality in combination with luxurious post-workout facilities.
KX Pilates is a fusion of traditional reformer pilates with cardio and endurance training and so the studio had to nurture physical workouts while also nourishing and strengthening the user’s mind.
Entry to the pilates studio is via a small discrete lift at street level, beside a noodle shop from one of the main streets in Melbourne’s CBD. The studio is marked by an illuminated sign with the KX logo beside the lift, and the building location is nestled in between a diverse array of cafes, restaurants, bars, office buildings and hotels.
The brief was to create a signature high-performance KX Pilates studio in Melbourne’s CBD. In answer to this, Loke Architects designed a striking ceiling space frame in the reception area to create a “strong and confident sensation” upon entry to the studio as motivation for the impending workout, and with notions towards abstract forms of the letters ‘k and ‘x’. Luxurious fittings and finishes were selected for the post-workout facilities to create a sense of decadence and relaxation.
The project itself was a tricky one; the space that had been obtained for the project was on the third floor of an older office building in Bourke St, meaning there were a number of logistical problems explains Caroline Loke, director, Loke Architects.
“It required a full internal demolition, and new fitout. One of the main challenges was the single point of access via a very small lift which had a low ceiling, and was shared by the entire building. All demolition and supply materials had to be significantly reduced in size in order for them to be bought into or out of the site via the lift,” she says.
Concrete blocks were used to build the reception desk, which is located at the front of the building beside the lift to take advantage of three large windows and to maximise the street views and natural daylight. The same blocks were also used to support the banquette seating in the reception area, which provides an edgy robustness and contrasts with the warmth of the timber top seat. Timber was also used in the bespoke lockers and joinery throughout the bathrooms to soften the space and provide continuity throughout the project.
“The circulation of the studio had to have a circular fluidity and allow seamless class changeovers so that users could sign-in at the reception area, undertake the class, and exit the class towards the lockers and change rooms,” says Loke.
The studio requirements were to accommodate the pilates reformer machines and provide good lighting, storage, and to create a serene environment for the pilates classes.
“The bathrooms, showers and change rooms used a more refined palette of materials and sophisticated approach to finishes in order to create a sense of indulgence post workout, in order for users to leave the studio feeling invigorated,” adds Loke.
Photography by Mary Grekos