When “Biggest Loser” coach Orly Hoffman Bar approached Toledo-Lifschitz Architecture & Design with an idea to convert a vacant space north of Tel Aviv into a sweet new gym, she offered two major constraints: time and money.
Another firm might have walked away, but Ariel Lifschitz and his partner used the opportunity to put their studio’s ideas about sustainable design to practice. As such, just about everything in One Size, which was conceived to feel more like home than a sweaty meat market, is either recycled or repurposed.
It had tall ceilings and a grid of concrete pillars covered up with plaster and paint. Unable to import new materials or even order products from Israel given that they only had four months to get from planning to opening day, the design team chose to optimize the “raw look,” Ariel told Green Prophet in a recent telephone interview.
They went in and gutted several walls, careful to salvage whatever materials could be reused and to dispose the rest in a certified dump. This helped to open up the space and reveal its natural character.
In part to maintain a feeling of home and openness, Orly wanted sight lines between various rooms in the 1,000 square meter building, which features two major workout rooms, a reception area, bathrooms, as well as office space.
The reception area is particular striking.
Toledo and Lifschitz welded together old metal plates that make up the backs of long timber desks, giving the program a warm, industrial chic aesthetic; recycled bar stools reinforce this intention
Behind the desks, the wall is lined with a system of reclaimed timber shelving units previously used for concrete forming livens up the room with a showcase of unique artifacts that are meaningful to both the site and to Orly.
The room is also furnished with stools, marine lighting fixtures and sofas that the design team sourced at the Yafo flea market just south of Tel Aviv. Unlike the kind of generic furniture typically used in gyms, these storied pieces bring character and life to the gym.
Energy efficient LED lighting makes up a large proportion of the overall illumination scheme and low-flow plumbing helps to conserve water – a scarce resource throughout the Middle East.
There’s so much more to this inventive project, but suffice to say it was completed in short order with what Ariel calls “a humble budget,” and almost nothing went to waste as a result.
If you love it, head over to Toledo-Lifschitz’s website for a look at some of their other exciting work.
All images courtesy of Toledo-Lifschitz