As a child, I was bookish and not particularly athletic, and gym class was by far my least favorite class of the day, involving, if not actual suffering, certainly a lot of insecurity and failure. This has given me a certain instinctual horror of gyms that has lasted well into adulthood. Even though 24 Hour Fitness is well removed from the awkwardness of junior high, there's something about the smell of rubber and exertion that just makes me a little bit tense.
For people like me who haven't quite gotten over their childhood traumas, or for those who just hate your typical loud, smelly gym, there is good news: Australian interior design studio Huntly has created a gym (excuse me, a 'sanctuary for enhanced wellbeing') that doesn't look like a gym at all. It is, in fact, incredibly beautiful — a testament to the power of design to redeem even the sweatiest of spaces.
The Sum of Us is a wellness center in Prahan, a suburb of Melbourne. They offer physiotherapy, pilates, yoga, and meditation, and also have a small cafe. All this takes place in a space worthy of a magazine spread, with tall ceilings, soothing colors, and even beautiful sinks.
For any other space, calling what is essentially a yoga studio a 'sanctuary for enhanced wellbeing' might seem a bit overblown, but here it seems to fit: there is something a bit ecclesiastic about the space's light walls, tall ceilings, and careful minimalism. And if you think about it, the gym is (maybe along with therapy) the only place that many of us attend religiously.
Maybe I am lying to myself, but I'd like to think that I'd go to the gym a lot more if mine were this beautiful. The Sum of Us is dedicated to a kind of holistic wellness that incorporates both mind and body, and having a beautiful space is a big part of that — nourishing the eyes while toning the body.