“The first impression you get upon entering is of a place devoted entirely to wellness. It’s only later that you realise you’re actually in a sports centre.” This is how Pavel Vrzák, an interior designer from the Czech firm Exclusive Interiors, describes the concept behind his project for Emotion Fitness, a sports centre in the West Bohemian city of Plzeň.
The centre offers a variety of sports activities, from aerobics and yoga through to sessions with personal trainers, but the designer’s intention was to create a welcoming, unpretentious ambience far removed from the Western gym archetypes. “Fitness spaces in the Czech Republic cannot be completely decorated or brightly coloured like public sports facilities, so the client and investors asked us to come up with a different design concept based on simple and timeless interiors.” The entrance to Emotion Fitness leads into a neutral, undecorated space dominated by dark tones that foster a sensation of well-being. It is only in the subsequent spaces, the gym rooms and the areas such as the bar and restaurant, that the style becomes more metropolitan.
A variety of compositional tools were used to differentiate the various areas, including the finishing and surface covering materials chosen by Pavel Vrzák for their functionality and style. “Porcelain tiles in a palette ranging from earthy to pure colours were the obvious choice both for me as a designer and for the investors given their durability and ease of maintenance. Panaria Ceramica is one of the leading companies in the sector renowned for the high quality of their products. I have been collaborating with them for many years and particularly appreciate their range of large sizes. The highly skilled team of tile layers I work with enjoy handling this material and use it to create really nice finished installations.”
Porcelain tile proved to be the best choice due to its ease of cleaning and the fact that it has a water absorption coefficient of under 0.05%. The Context collection, a sophisticated and visually appealing concrete effect surface, was chosen for the bar, restaurant and bathroom areas. This floor and wall tile line is inspired by age-old methods of creating surfaces using mixtures of marble, stone and terracotta grits amalgamated in a cement-based compound. While the overall aesthetic is inspired by concrete, the choice of the dark grey, almost anthracite colour Hangar creates a sensation of metropolitan elegance.
“This timeless material has a long lifespan and fully meets the needs of sustainable architecture,” concludes Pavel Vrzák.