At the Warehouse Gym D3 in Dubai Design District, the juice bar alone sets the heart racing. Its good looks begin with the Grigio di Masso marble countertop, which provides the visual cue for walls finished in large-format porcelain tile that mimics the grey marble’s textural likeness to tumbled stones.
Complemented by the bar’s copper-alloy cladding (Tecu Gold, by copper and copper-alloy products manufacturer KME), the natural stone look plays off the structure’s concrete floors and columns. “We were inspired by brutalism in architecture. And we focused on materiality – using raw materials that you usually find on a construction site, like concrete bricks and metal mesh,” says interior architect Rania Hamed, whose studio, VSHD Design, devised the entire 600-square-metre gym, including a cycling studio and circuit-training factory.
To further elevate the building’s bare bones, Hamed and her team collaborated with a local artisan on another big design move: walls clad with concrete bricks that have a natural, non-uniform appearance. The firm also designed custom LED fixtures, which are suspended in multiples for extra drama. All of the interior’s materials are intended to look better with time by developing a patina. “Exercise is about working hard in an environment that pushes you to do so,” says Hamed. “It benefits from this underground, hard, brutal feel.” vshd.net