Last year, after having been in business for more than 50 years, the New Zealand fitness powerhouse Les Mills completed the design of an additional facility across from its flagship location on Victoria Street in Auckland City.
The addition is a thoroughly re-configured industrial building that now houses three new Les Mills studios. These studios and the fitness programs offered in them have been designed to meet the expectations of the Gen Z and Millennial demographics.
Based on Les Mills own global research these age groups drive most of fitness-club spending. Les Mills research also indicates that the mean age of fitness club members is 36.4 and the mean age of those who join fitness clubs is 30.6.
The vibe at the new studios is masculine and dark, all business and hard work. The facility was designed by Auckland-based Monk Mackenzie and interior designers, Rufus Knight Associates together with the branding team at Alt Group.
The theatrical drama of the industrial building and the goal-focused fitness regimes are expressed and enhanced in the studios with cinema-quality audio visual aids. For example, The Trip, a new 45-minute cycle experience, features a tiered theatre design, a huge screen and purpose-created videos broadcast with five projectors.
The other two new Les Mills programmes for which this space is custom-designed are Ceremony, a 45-minute functional training workout, and Conquer, a complete boxing workout.
With the hard, functional training regimes and focused workouts that are a growing trend according to Les Mills research, comes facility wear and tear. For this reason, the designers and the innovation team at Les Mills had to implement only ideas and design components that would withstand the constant, hard use.
The need for immersive experiences, the growing trend of functional training, and the desire to create a visually distinctive brand, made the process more difficult but also resulted in a more cohesive experience. The need to balance several strong needs has visibly helped focus the brand and the interiors, and forced an outcome that is bold and clear.
The Victoria Street facility is a test facility for the three new functional fitness programs and the new space design. Both will be gradually rolled out in other Les Mills locations in New Zealand. Tuija Seipell.