In Pictures: Studio Republik gym in Dubai, by Lulie Fisher Design Studio

Every studio has its own unique design and finishes palette but follows a common family language of design look

Studio Republik is a 5,500 sqm space off Dubai's Sheikh Zayed Road offering workouts, music, drama and dance, as well as the chance enhance the body's capabilities with nutrition, rehab and prehab, personal training, and strength and conditioning.

It is split into three distinct 'communities' or 'platforms',The Arena: A family of studios for aerial, bootcamp, cycling and group exercise, The Stage: A home for the performing, and The Lab: An integrated wellness centre providing yoga and Pilates studios for mind and body work, nutrition counseling, personal training and rehabilitative services delivered from a Dubai Health Authority approved polyclinic.

There's also a restaurant, co-working and performance space. Lulie Fisher Design Studio designed Studio Republik to occupy the fi rst and second fl oors of what was a shell and core offi ce building on Dubai's main arterial road. Not being purpose built, there were many obstacles to overcome ranging from structural strengthening, compromised ceiling heights and acoustic privacy – both from neighbouring offi ce and retail tenants and between Studio Republik's own activities, some of which have been cocooned in six-sided acoustic 'fl oating boxes' to ensure sound separation.
The client's brief was to deliver a ground-breaking facility like no other in terms of design, style, function, acoustics and seamless integration of cutting edge technology and equipment.

With the Covid-19 pandemic, this technology originally conceived as a business tool to track and profi le member usage has now been redeployed to keep members safe with the help of access control gates, smart wristbands, and booking apps to control capacity, protect personal space and reduce the need for surface contact.

The atmosphere is dynamic, interactive and sensory creating visual, auditory, tactile and olfactory experiences that start in the atmospherically lit lobby, where walls and ceilings lined with fins of glowing coloured glass, mirrors and mesh conceal dense acoustic absorbency and 4K projectors imprint images onto gently swaying curtains. On the first floor the journey to reception continues down the 100m 'street' lined with a lustrous dark blue woven wall, to the accompaniment of angled trick lighting and 8m-wide edge bled projections delivering inspirational and educational content.

The reception is half way along the route and opposite a luminous top lit double height volume, housing the restaurant ROH and connected to the Lab on the second floor via a dynamic, sculptural steel stair case. At the reception members check class timetables and book classes via digital screens. ROH is the beating heart of Studio Republik, a casual daytime meeting place, co-working space and café encouraging social interaction. By night it transforms into a restaurant where lighting pendants reflect in the full height mirrored walls and the glass roof at night.

The palette is raw yet refined, combining timber and concrete in the fl oor, blue stone bar counters, a sculptural concrete feature wall with a graphite metallic sheen and accents of pale blue and tan leather in the furniture. Every studio has its own unique design and finishes palette but follows a common family language of design look and feel established for the Platform it belongs to.

The Stage
A warm, hospitable yet edgy palette of oak, recycled white brick, mirrors and ballet barres, black rubbers, meshes, wool crepe fabrics, deep burgundy and black velvet drapes and soft terracotta hues on the walls. The dance and drama studios combine a hip industrial vibe with a warm welcoming
character – a pre-requisite for teaching.

Designed with the intention of having a flexible studio space for performance and gathering, the dance and drama studios are separated by a wool-lined acoustic operable partition. The music studios are a series of acoustically engineered musical boxes comprising a music tech lab equipped with digital audio workstations nd controllers, ten private tuition rooms, ensemble rooms equipped for rehearsing and a recording studio.

The Arena
A space for live music, DJ booths, projections and coloured RGB lighting synchronised to sound and movement. The studios have been designed to create an immersive experience for the exhilarating adrenaline rush of the high impact classes being run within. The material palette for these areas has a night club-style aesthetic juxtaposed with glamour. The spaces are characterised by shiny black timbers, polished concrete, finned mirror planks providing endless refl ections and black, pink and turquoise over scaled floral wall coverings which wrap the ceilings and walls of the Aerial Studio – a women-only boudoir/Moulin Rouge style environment. An air of theatre is provided by targeted shafts of professional stage lighting focused on the performers.

The Lab
Designed to be a sanctuary for enhanced well being; the essence of the studios is to encourage the importance of bringing together a balanced life, mind and body. It combines the light and ethereal aesthetic of grey timbers and billowing white sheers with the rigour of Japanese-style modulated screens lined with backlit glowing shoji papers and white glass. Live flautists and violinists accompany classes. A personal training suite provides rehabilitation, conditioning and pampering to transport mind, body and soul.

This is backed up by the rehabilitation clinic, a DHA-approved polyclinic which houses six treatment rooms, nutrition counseling suites and a rehab gym. This clinic complies with all the seriousness of infection control driven seamless surfaces but delivered with a design style that is pure hospitality. The changing rooms and toilets are hospitable and tranquil, providing a refreshing breakaway from the energy of the studios. The brand's signature teal colour continues into the washrooms and is contrasted with black metal trims and floor fi nish.

The changing areas have a soothing ambience with warm timber cladding and soft indirect lighting. A whimsical and playful atmosphere is created in the vanity area with the insertion of bright red stools and a black and white fl oor pattern creating the illusion of arrows that climb the walls to a dado height in a nod to the brand logo. Custom designed lighting features mounted to mirrored ceilings create an illusion of infinity in an area of restricted head height.

The feeling
The overall transparent nature of the design provides a backdrop of visual stimulation and creativity. The music studios are punctured with large acoustic windows allowing visibility into the technical studios and ensemble rooms; the bootcamp with its Tron-style lighting grid and RGB coloured lighting wands provides the backdrop to the reception via acoustically glazed walls which also line the PT gym and GX studios.

With sustainability very much on the agenda, all materials have been locally sourced and all furniture and feature elements have been designed and locally manufactured to reduce the carbon footprint. Studio Republik has been designed to challenge your body, your soul and your senses.

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