Playing in Colours
‘…the first main characteristic of play: that it is free, is in fact freedom. A second characteristic is … that play is not ‘ordinary’ or ‘real’ life. It is rather a stepping out of ‘real’ life into a temporary sphere of activity with a disposition all of its own.’
Johan Huizinga, Homo Ludens
Socialization through motor activities is not a new concept. However, in our new pandemic era, there’s an increasing demand for different physical activities as everyone develops their own concept of health and wellness. BeInfinity is a platform bringing together professional sports, fitness training and recreational gathering under one roof. At its Wuhan flagship, Lukstudio experiments with colours and geometry to create a social club fitting all types of motivation.
The project is located on the top floor of a shopping mall right downtown of Hankou, Wuhan. The original 2400-sqm venue is a 7.5m-high hall with a public area at its entrance. With a new mezzanine installed, the destination provides 3500 sqm of indoor activities with breakout spaces such as an entrance café.
Juxtaposing different activities into a visual unity requires detailed data collection from spatial planning to materiality. Apart from understanding the specific constraints, requirements and common problems of each function, the design team also conduct endless research on finishes and fixtures to ensure user-friendly acoustics and lighting. Our aim is to elevate the often- homogenous workout space to a memorable destination.
Drawing inspiration from the video game Tetris and the psychology of colour, each activity area is designed as a “dopamine block” that sets a certain mood. For example, red signifies strength and excitement, so it is paired with the energetic equipment gym; blue is soothing and help us focus, an ideal backdrop for the air rifle and baseball batting; yellow brings us joy and vitality and it is applied to the playful area of snook ball, volleyball and ping-pong. Apart from evoking emotions and inspiring reactions, the visual approach also helps with wayfinding, giving clear navigation guidance to visitors.
Complementing the colourful spaces, the atrium and breakout areas are lined in neutral gray and wooden tones to exude a relaxed atmosphere. Combining rock-climbing, basketball and boxing, the high-ceiling space is also equipped with a central stage and a 15.5m x 6.5m LED screen for group classes or game broadcast. Echoing the circles in a basketball court which are often used to reset a game, the two semi-circular balconies stick out as “blanks” for observation or pause among surrounding actions.
Besides colouring the “dopamine blocks”, the design also employs graphic patterns to express a sense of vitality. The gradient metal ceiling grid changes density according to activity level; the woodwool panels divided into pixels draw arrows or graphs on walls; the same progressive form recurs in the staircase design.
The entrance café continues the graphics of dynamic order, both visible in the ceiling light grid and the flooring graphics extrapolated from sports field. More sports elements are integrated in the furniture design: green sofa garnished in red stitches mimicking those in a baseball, table legs simulating the weight found in strength equipment; wooden stool takes on the appearance of the jumping box.
A cross between sports and entertainment and a bridge between different ages and interests, BeInfinity is a platform that takes into account diversified individual needs of training, playing, decompressing and even online content-sharing. Adopting a clear geometric order with bold use of colours and friendly materiality, Lukstudio has created a playful escape, inviting every visitor to be in touch with their energetic and creative self while enjoying the beauty of sportsmanship.
Client | BeInfinity
Location | Hankou, Wuhan ( 5th Floor, Unit 07A (5-07A), No. 1515 Zhongshan Avenue, Jiang’an District, Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China)
Original indoor area | 2410㎡
Final indoor area | 3500 square meters (1F – 2410㎡, 2F – 1090㎡)
Designer | LUKSTUDIO
Director | Christina Luk
Design Team | Angel Wang, Kate Deng, Munyee Ng, Yoko You, Weifeng Yu, Vivi Du, Zoey Zhou, Coca Gao
Scope | Interior, Furniture, Signage, Lighting Design
Design Period | 2022.05 – 2022.08
Construction Period | 2022.12 – 2023.06
Key Materials | brushed stainless steel, wood wool board, oak veneer, textured paint, upholstered wall panel, metal mesh, ceramic tiles, aluminum grille, PVC flooring, rubber flooring.
Photography | Dirk Weiblen