In serious expansion mode, Equinox launched a hospitality division and opened 10 more gyms in the past year—a pair of them completed by Inc Architecture & Design for locations in Brooklyn, New York. Already working on a branch in the Dumbo neighborhood, Inc was tapped for one in the heart of hipster Williamsburg. “Doing both projects at the same time was an interesting juxtaposition,” partner and managing and creative director Adam Rolston says.
Though the neighborhoods share a manufacturing past and a present dominated by the creative class, Dumbo has a commercial thrust, while much of Williamsburg skews residential—and younger. The two gyms’ design reflects those subtle differences. At the 22,000-square-foot Williamsburg space, the aesthetic tips more hard-edged and masculine, with plenty of hot-rolled steel and plain white walls. Pipes are painted fire engine red to become a feature in their own right. “Equinox invests more in design than most gyms do, but the budget is still not extravagant. You have to get creative,” Rolston continues. Inexpensive pendant fixtures’ black-painted cylinders seem to punch down ward from the ceiling above the strength, stretching, and cardio areas.
Since the two branches opened, a major difference has been the ebb and flow of occupancy. Dumbo experiences rush hours before 9:00 AM and after 5:00 PM. Williamsburg, home to the gig economy, enjoys a slow burn all day long.