Stone, marble and natural inspirations
Lapo Bianchi Luci, Camilla Lapucci (C+L Studio)
Klab is the brand name of a chain of three popular Tuscan fitness centres, the first two of which to open were Marignolle and Conti in Florence, followed recently by Proxima B in Prato with a 5,000 square metre space devoted entirely to fitness, well-being and relaxation. Strategically located on the first floor of the new Esselunga retail outlet, which in 2014 replaced the vacant Pratilia shopping mall in Viale Leonardo da Vinci, Klab Proxima B features a weights and equipment room with a cardio fitness area for individual workouts, course rooms, and two large indoor swimming pools used for a variety of water-based activities.
The club also has a new spa offering an extensive range of services. Designed by the Florence-based practice Cipiuelle founded in 2002 by Camilla Lapucci and Lapo Bianchi Luci, the project marks the continuation of a partnership that dates back to 2006 when the practice designed Klab Marignolle. This first project involved the redevelopment of a former military industrial complex on the outskirts of Florence owned by SMA, a manufacturer of hi-tech electrical components for naval and air traffic signals. The complex was expanded in the early 1980s by Pier Luigi Spadolini and Pier Guido Fagnoni with the addition of underground volumes to complement the eighteenth-century villa of San Martino, which today have been entirely converted into a 30,000 square metre wellness centre.
The Klab Proxima B spa, opened in 2019, occupies a 500 square metre rectangular site. From the entrance and the hospitable waiting area, visitors can easily reach the various indoor and outdoor functional spaces via a central corridor. The approximately 25 m² hammam provides direct access to two smaller beauty treatment rooms. The 26 m² Turkish bath is located opposite the 31 m² sauna, where four niches are arranged around its octagonal perimeter facing onto a central water fountain. Opposite the entrance, a 50 m² whirlpool bath completes the longitudinal layout of the spa, which also features emotional showers and three relaxation areas of different sizes (11, 36 and 38 m²) offering various degrees of privacy.
The materials, colours and finishes play an important role in the design of a space devoted to physical regeneration and restoring the harmony of mind and body, so the design choices had to satisfy a number of different criteria. «The design of a wellness centre must strike a perfect balance between purely aesthetic considerations and functional aspects,» says the designer. «While it is important to use natural, eco-sustainable materials and furnishings chosen according to aesthetic and stylistic criteria, at the same time these materials and furnishings must be selected for their operational and technical qualities while respecting the multiplicity of functions and hydrothermal conditions that typically occur in the spa environment.»
The reference to nature and the decision to use neutral colours in green tones underpinned the interior design choices in these comfortable, welcoming spaces, particularly the use of porcelain tiles from Casalgrande Padana. While the sauna opts for the traditional aromas and pale colours of wood, the wet areas such as the seats and walls of the hammam, Turkish bath and swimming pool are dominated by the presence of marble, whose multiplicity of veins, colours and textures are perfectly reproduced by the Marmoker porcelain collection in the colours Birimbau, Zebrino and Statuario Oro. Marble effect tiles are also used on the swimming pool floors (Marte colour Botticino collection with bush-hammered finish), while stone serves as a welcoming element on all the surfaces in the quieter relaxation rooms (Marte collection in the colour Guatemala Green and Pietre di Paragone collection in the colour Gré Grigio).
Marmoker, Marte, Pietre di Paragone (Casalgrande Padana)
Arabesque (Marmoker), Botticino + Verde Guatemala (Marte), Grè Grigio (Pietre di paragone)
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): < 0,1%
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): GA
Resistance to deep abrasion (ISO 10545-6): ≤150 mm3
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): compliant
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): compliant
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): > 45 N/mm2
Slip resistance (DIN 51130): Matt R9
Thermal shock resistance (ISO 10545-9): compliant
Crazing resistance (ISO 10545-11): compliant
Linear thermal expansion (ISO 10545-8): compliant