This fitness centre in regional Victoria evokes connections to the natural world, with sculptural insertions cleverly crafted from plywood-look decorated board.
Medifit Design & Construct’s new fit-out for The Wellness Room, in the Victorian town of Koo Wee Rup, expertly ticks all of the boxes you’d expect for a contemporary yoga, pilates and strength studio, with a highly functional design that makes the most of the space’s abundant natural light and generous proportions. But the clients asked for more than that. They wanted a sense of “wow and wonder”. And thanks to some very creative use of Laminex Raw Birchply decorated board, that’s exactly what they got.
Raw Birchply is used on joinery throughout, its authentic plywood look giving the centre a distinctly Scandinavian appeal. But its application here wasn’t inspired by northern European style so much as by traditional ideas from the study of yoga. “We believed these were best represented through a neutral colour palette with plenty of layers and textures, in a nod to Mother Nature,” says Megan du Preez, interior designer at Medifit. And this is where the wow factor came in, with du Preez and her team using the same decorated board to create a series of tree-like structures that flow up from the timber floor and wrap the ceiling in a kind of abstracted canopy. These sculptural insertions evoke nature while softening the edges of the interior volume, helping to deliver an immersive, Zen-like ambience.
“Laminex Raw Birchply offers all the technical qualities of an engineered product, but with the soft tone and natural grain of plywood. It was important to our client and to the design team that the product we used doesn’t look like an imitation or appear artificial.”
Megan du Preez – interior designer at Medifit
Using Laminex decorated board delivered several practical advantages over real plywood: being a lighter product made it easier to fix to the ceiling; its moisture resistance is more appropriate to the humid conditions of Bikram yoga; and ABS edging gives the boards added durability and impact-resistance. They also offered improved on-site efficiency, as du Preez explains. “Using a pre-pressed board reduces labour, cost and time spent on preparing the product,” she says, “ultimately allowing for more focus on the installation and execution of the design.”
And thank goodness for that, because every moment spent on this innovative design solution was well worth it! Medifit’s work here brings the natural environment inside, in a sense, and in doing so displays a keen awareness of the effect interior design has on people’s wellbeing. For customers and members of The Wellness Room, it’s making every visit memorable, enjoyable and peaceful.
Design: Megan Du Preez for Medifit Design & Construct
Cabinet Maker: Diverse Project Group
Photography: Steve Scalone