i + D - July/August 2020 - 39

In Good Health - By Michele Keith

Short-term Remedies,
Long-term Goals
"Until a clear solution to the pandemic is found, people will be apprehensive
about going to the gym no matter what we do," believes Shove-Brown.
However, he adds, most people have short-term memory. "Next summer,
or in a few years when the pandemic is over, people will feel differently
about all these things." As such, smart designers are being far-sighted and
planning for the future even as they design for today.
MacEwen says, "We can't lose sight of the fact that salons and fitness
centers are still hospitality spaces. In the short term, we are helping our
clients plan for reopening and exploring the aesthetics of separation through
design; for example, what will make people feel safe enough to want to
come back without it looking like a HazMat environment. At the same time,
we're looking at physical separation solutions that could work long term in
such a way that they would be noticed if removed down the road-in other
words, items that are very attractive and functional."
High on everyone's list of essentials is touchless technology with its
applications in numerous instances including checking in/out, opening/closing
doors, dispensing towels, filling water bottles, turning faucets on/off, and so
many others-the sorts of things approved by the Americans with Disabilities
Act that have long-term and wide-reaching implications.
"Above all," says Mierski, "we try to create environments that are in
symbiosis with nature to inspire serenity and relaxation, fitness and health,
balance, and put nature in the foreground. For Nordic spas like ours, whether
in the country or an urban setting, the architecture must be a pedestal for
perfect communion between the client and the landscape."

Designing spaces for fitness that can work now and
in a post-pandemic future is a current focus at //3877, which
designed Boombox Boxing Club in Washington, D.C.
(Image: Clarence Butts)

MacEwen's take on nature is to bring the outside in, mentioning
the outdoor turf field he designed for personal training at the
Midtown Athletic Club & Hotel in Chicago, with "the best views
in the city."
Most interesting-and the opposite of the pre-COVID
mindset-is the idea of increasing the visibility of essential
workers who serve clients and clean spaces and equipment.
"COVID has reminded us," MacEwen says, "that they are the
ones keeping us safe. And it would be easy enough to enhance
their visibility with something like branded T-shirts and masks."
From what the designers say, people will want to come back to
spas and fitness/wellness centers as long as they feel safe. And
the design of these spaces will be more important than ever to
elevate the guest experience and motivate them to leave their
home, work out, and luxuriate in a bit of pampering.

MICHELE KEITH
is a New York City-based writer whose work has
appeared in The New York Times, ASPIRE Design and
Home, Luxury Listings NYC, and DESIGN, among
other magazines. She also has written two coffee table
books for The Monacelli Press: Designers Here and
There and Designers Abroad.

DMAC's design for Midtown Athletic Club includes The Outfield, a training
space that allows guests to take their fitness outdoors.
(Image: Anthony Tahlier)

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i + D - July/August 2020

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