Biophilic Gym Brings The Outdoors Into The Weight Room

Based on the increasingly popular principles of biophilic architecture, biofit brings the outdoors into the weight room. Removing the fluorescent and the artificial from exercise spaces, they aim at improving mood, delivering strong, lean bodies and prep urbanites to tackle the great outdoors.

Whereas most inner-city gyms could come across as dull spaces with their abundance of machinery, screaming loud music, the smothery smell of sweat and all in all cramped lay-out, biofit strives to make their locations as natural and fresh as possible. In their gym design natural elements are central to achieve a relaxing yet motivating environment to increase focus and therefore results.

On the floor there is a soft artificial grass, the light is regulated to resemble natural conditions, there is just the right amount of natural plants and the air is infused with natural scents. Machinery is a rarity in the concept gyms, instead they opt for a mix of sandbags, bars, beams, ropes, balls and weights. All of these are made from natural materials such as wood, bamboo, rubber, leather and canvas.

With their approach biofit fits their gyms right in with the continuously expanding trend of biophilic design and architecture. The insertion of natural elements in buildings — residential, hotel and office, hospitals, schools and retail stores — has found quite some following and is believed to have positive effects accordingly on liveability, productiveness, recovery, study results and sales. This logic is what brought Matt Morley to adopt biophilic design in his gyms. Being a niche operator within the fitness industry biofit now has two locations in operation, in London and Calgary, but aims to open up more branded and unbranded locations in partnership with hotels, resorts, offices, residential developments and medical centres in the future.

Moving away from the stereotype gym environment and focussing on body and mind connectivity, these biophilic gyms join a trend among urban athletes. The rise of various forms of CrossFit and calisthenics as a way of training already focused on a more dynamic and natural approach to physical exercise, but the dimension of surrounding is brought into play.

Earlier we reported on the pop-up Let’s Gro Gym in which a team of psychoanalysts, urban planners, social entrepreneurs, and designers tried a new approach to urban fitness — bodily and mentally. Where Let’s Gro Gym focused on how the paradox of living a happy urban life would be “letting go of seeking perfect happiness”, biofit seems to search for urban happiness by mixing in as much natural elements as possible. One way or the other, keeping fit is high on the urbanites agenda and more then ever before this fitness concerns not just the body, but is increasingly consciously mindful as well.