Projects

Centro Fitness Gymnica - Ovada (AL)

Besides sport, a haven for relaxation

A club in Ovada, Piedmont offers an outstanding proposal for all-round wellness
Author
Elena Pasoli
Surfaces
REX
Year of completion
2011

Although wellness areas are now seen not just as centres for practising sport and caring for our bodies but first and foremost as existential oases and meeting places, such outstanding examples of this new philosophy as the one offered by Le Club in Ovada in the northern Italian province of Alessandria are few and far between.
Based on twenty years of experience (the centre has been operating since 1993 under the name of Gymnica), Le Club is a multifunctional wellness oasis that offers its customers a comprehensive circuit promoting a profound sense of well-being. The floor space of more than 2,000 square metres features an alternation of exercise areas and spaces devoted to reinvigoration and relaxation. Alongside a spacious fitness area and a large swimming pool there is also a splendid relaxation area with spa, restaurant and meeting spaces, all featuring cutting-edge technologies, outstanding materials and rigorous design.
“The history of Le Club stemmed from a desire on the part of the client to create a location that would serve as a meeting place as well as a sports facility,” explained project architect Roberto Ulzi. “Although its main focus is physical fitness, the centre goes beyond the classic gym concept to explore a new idea of socialisation as a meeting point and a club that can be frequented independently of users’ desire for exercise.”
A certain solemnity, alleviated by the intelligent sobriety of all the design choices, greets visitors at the entrance, which consists of a glass door surrounded by Marmi tiles from Rex, porcelain tiles that offer an exceptional reproduction of prestigious natural materials. These Marmi tiles are used in a multiplicity of sophisticated colour solutions in various areas of the Club, where light is modelled to create authentic scenic effects. From the reception area to the restaurant, from the gym and spa areas to the bathrooms and outdoor swimming pool, there is a continuous alternation of atmospheres in which the floor and wall coverings play a leading role.
No less appealing is the seamless continuity of the spaces, which follow on one from the other with exceptional harmony. A key aspect of the project, continues Ulzi, was “the visual permeability between spaces that must nonetheless be insulated thermally and acoustically. This allows for a much broader perception of space and makes the interior pleasant and liveable. The fact that the structure opens onto the surrounding green spaces allows the natural environment to penetrate inside, significantly improving the quality of the experience and aiding sensorial memory.”
“Less is more” is the famous aphorism used by Mies van der Rohe, the great German architect who revolutionised architecture in the early decades of the twentieth century with his novel spatial concept based on elegance and simplicity; “skin and bones architecture” was the definition that he himself liked to give to his work. These words accurately describe the atmosphere of the club, which largely achieves its communicative power through attention to design details and materials. Chosen for their natural appearance, their versatility is enhanced by unexpected juxtapositions with wood, leather and mosaics. The highly appealing overall effect and sense of broad scale is characterised by a constant dialogue between elegance and functionality.

Tiles
Rex, I Marmi and Matouche series
Type
porcelain stoneware
Sizes
Matouch 60x60 cm, I Marmi 60x120, 45x45, 3x15, 60x60 cm
Colours
Marble Brown, Marble Gold, Marble Gray; Eleph Tabac
Technical characteristics
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): < 0,1%
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): GA - GLA naturale
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): conforme
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): conforme
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): >40N/mm2
Slip resistance (DIN 51130): R9 naturale
Thermal shock resistance (ISO 10545-9): conforme
Crazing resistance (ISO 10545-11): conforme
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