Daring Design Ideas

Daring Design Ideas

Anne Reagan
Oct 22, 2009

What design inspiration can possibly be gathered from a serviceable fitness center, you ask? David Barton Gym is not your ordinary grey-clad, fluorescent sweat-box. Quite the contrary – this palace of bodily perfection is filled with beauty that will make your jaw drop (and we're not talking about the clientele).

With a slogan like "Look Better Naked," David Barton Gym pushes the envelope when it comes to fitness and interior design. The newly opened location in Bellevue, WA follows the same visual bravado of his proceeding gyms. Your sense of space is immediately challenged upon entering: the walls curve up like a skateboard ramp, the lobby is outfitted with a Chinese opium bed and black picnic tables. You wonder if you've entered a chic nightclub or downtown boutique hotel. Throughout the gym are touches of "real" upholstered furniture and multicolored lights alongside state of the art fitness equipment.

But why? Why not have standard-issue grey and black weights and much-too-bright locker rooms? Because David Barton understands that this is a place of transformation, meditation and socialization. By stimulating your visual cortex you are continually surprised and discombobulated by your environment. Why not add a bit of boldness and audacity to your home and wow your friends with a daring space.

Here are ways to infuse a spirited look to your space:

Photos above from left to right:

1. Play with scale. This caramel colored sofa is nearly 30 feet long. It toys with conventional scale and creates a spectacular statement.

2. Functional does not have to be boring. Notice the colored lights, hanging decorative objects and wall sculpture – all in the middle of a work-out space.

3. Mix textures. Cool heavy weights are juxtaposed with warm a fuzzy flokati wall installation to strike an unexpected combination of textures.

4. Be bold with color. Throw your color wheel out the window and experiment with unusual combinations and inventive prints.

5. Layer unique pieces. Any of these items: the chair, the lamp, the door, would be interesting by themselves. But try putting your distinctive items together to challenge traditional furniture arrangements in your home.

The award-winning design team at Studio Sofield designed the seven locations in Bellevue, New York, Miami and Chicago. William Sofield designs high-end retail and residential spaces and also designs a line of home furnishings for Baker. In 1992 he started, along with fellow Ralph Lauren alum Thomas O'Brien, Aero Studios.

Photo credit for Bellevue location (photo #3): The Downtown Bellevue Network

Photo credit for all other locations: David Barton Gym

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