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Hoare Lea Lighting was commissioned by Virgin Active to provide the lighting solution for Virgin Active’s new Walbrook Health Club. The Club is located on the ground and basement floors of the Walbrook Building, a landmark development in the City of London. The 2300m2 (24500ft2) floorplate provides lounge facilities, a large gym floor, studios, and luxurious changing areas with access to a spa centre, incorporating a sauna, and steam and salt rooms. With a brief to adopt a fresh, integrated architectural approach, the scheme forms an important part of the visitor experience and throughout the Club lighting details complement the high-end interior design and finishes. Hoare Lea Lighting worked with architects Atelierdb to create an all-LED design, to reflect the contemporary luxury of Virgin Active’s Collection brand.

To give it prominence, the reception desk features leather clad front panels, with an integrated line of light, created by Optelma’s Firo, picking out the texture of the material. Narrow, cylindrical feature pendants, the Tula Micro by XAL, are suspended above the desk. These provide illumination to the worktop, adding interest and breaking up the space. Spotlights (ACDC’s Azeta) wash the walls, providing pattern and highlighting the signage behind the desk. A feature staircase leads from the reception to the lower-ground floor, with integrated lighting adding a sense of theatre.

Changing Rooms and Spa
The changing rooms and spa are lit to a lower level than other areas of the Club. This combines with the use of indirect and hidden sources, and a colour temperature of 3000K, to create a warm, relaxing, luxurious atmosphere, which contrasts with the fresh, more dynamic 4000K of the main gym. Indirect sources, such as feature-point wall washers (ACDC’s Arena Tilt) and sporadic low-glare spotlights (the ProEvo from ACDC) create an atmospheric gateway to the spa. Within the spacious changing rooms, integrated lighting elements enhance the high-end feel. These include a linear profile – the Ikon from Optelma – incorporated into showers and behind the etched glass vanity units. This profile is also integrated beneath the vanity units, bathing the table tops with light, adding glamour and complementing the clean palette of grey plank tiling, marble and timber finishes.

In the main open-plan cardio and weights studio, a series of linear LED profiles (Optelma’s Quad), provide suspended lines of light. Combined with suspended disks of light, supplied by Optelma’s Lorv, these create a false ceiling beneath the exposed services. Recessed lines of light in the weights zone complement the main cardio area, creating a light, airy and inspiring space. The walkway through the gym to the weights and mezzanine level is lit by a continuous 40m recessed line-of-light (Optelma’s Quad 55), which turns through 90 degrees to follow the walkway through the studio and into a corridor framed with further profiles. Within the corridor, lines-of-light run up each wall, meeting the line-of-light that runs across the ceiling – a visual feature that accentuates the ‘shrinking’ height of the corridor.

Lounge and Cafe area
The comfortable lounge/café is also lit with a warmer 3000K colour temperature. The relaxing, hospitality feel is accentuated by integrated lighting elements. A light cove (ACDC’s Orelle) provides soft background lighting, while Deltalight’s twin gimbal spotlights pick out the café zone, and a ‘hidden’ line of light highlights the coffee point. Positioned on low tables, task lights by Louis Poulsen give member’s individual control, adding a domestic feel. Small low glare light points (Arena by ACDC) highlight the picture wall, while a line of pendants provides illumination over the desks. The design of the pendants is echoed in the floor lights located in the soft seating area.

David Bell, Director, Aterlierdb comments: ‘The lighting design across all areas of the club enriches the functional use of each space dramatically, with darker zones helping to calm, and brighter areas with stronger fittings helping to add energy for members.’ Tim Carter, Virgin Active Brand Director comments: ‘The solution we developed with Hoare Lea Lighting has helped us create a luxe space that is a true oasis of exercise and wellness. It adds to the stand out experience that members can expect when they visit one of our Collection clubs.’

Client: Virgin Active
Architect: Atelierdb Architecture + Interiors
Lighting Designers: Hoare Lea Lighting
Project Manager: CN Associates
Contractor: ISG
Manufacturers: ACDC, Deltalight, Louis Poulsen, Optelma, XAL
Photo Credit: Redshift

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