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REFUSE! studio takes a vibrant spin on a cycling studio

An indoor spinning studio in Mexico, inspired by the ‘Tour de France’, designed using popping colours and endless energy, makes one immediately want to exercise.

by Meghna Mehta May 24, 2019

Modern day methods of exercising and staying fit have evolved and new techniques have emerged from time to time. Various experiments have been made by people to stay healthy and consistently follow a routine they will not detour from. Many experiments have been made apart from going to the gym; including cross-fit training, zumba, kickboxing, water exercises as well as indoor cycling or what is popularly known as spinning.

For those who still consider cycling an outdoor recreation, it is interesting to note that indoor cycling is an organised activity, and a form of exercise with classes focusing on endurance, strength, intervals, high intensity (race days) and recovery, and involves using a special stationary exercise bicycle with a weighted flywheel in a classroom setting.

REFUSE! studio has been designed as an indoor cycling studio in Guadalajara, Mexico by EstudioFernandaOrozco. The principal architect, Fernando Oroczo says, “The inspiration for this project comes from ‘Tour the France’, the largest cycling race in the world, an athletic event with tradition, multiculturalism and full of colours through their uniforms and elements of cycling.” The studio works by the motto ‘REFUSE to: stop, the pain, to settle’, which aptly motivates one to keep coming back and creating a consistent routine for workouts.

Oroczo further adds, “The clients from the start were extremely open minded to make a project that would be very different from all other indoor cycling experiences. We did some research of indoor cycling studios in the world and we saw that they all followed the same design; hence, we wanted to do the exact opposite.”

  • Entrance Foyer Image Credit: Casa Blanca
  • Multiple colours enliven the space Image Credit: Casa Blanca
  • Branding and Infographics Image Credit: Casa Blanca

The intention was to create an experiential evolution of spaces to give the users a feeling of moving from one space into a completely new space through the use of different colours, materials and spatial mechanisms. Oroczo explains, “For the proposal of interior design, we sought to transmit an experience of transitions through spaces and their colours, where the user is invited to live an energetic and motivational challenge.” To create this, eye catching hues such as red, yellow, green and blue, all in their brightest shades have been used to offer a zestful, spirited and active environment the moment one steps in.

The branding studio came up with the colour palette from a research of ‘Tour the France’ and the architects immediately agreed to use the colours due to its vibrant nature. Oroczo explains, “Cycling is such a huge sport and now a high fashion one, so we did more research from the cycling brands and loved the elegance and the use of colour. That’s when we knew that we had to make a colour explosion, au contraire from all the other studios where white is predominant.”

  • Colour changing lights create a heady ambience inside the workout studio Image Credit: Casa Blanca
  • Colour changing lights create a heady ambience inside the workout studio Image Credit: Casa Blanca
  • Colour changing lights create a heady ambience inside the workout studio Image Credit: Casa Blanca

Revisiting their source of inspiration, the venue is divided into stages of experiences, a concept the clients appreciated from the start, which was further followed up by the intensification of the colours. In the reception area, the most tenuous colours of the brand were chosen, with the purpose of inviting the user to enter with confidence and be a part of a great challenge. The next area is the preparation or the changing room with lockers, where the colours are intensified and the selection of materials converts the space into an urban environment through patterns, textures and expressive posters that generate movement.

The space that reads, ‘Challenge Inside’ is treated as a transition space, to believe that when one passes through the dark room, they leave their inhibitions, fears and exhaustion aside - a strategy used in exhibitions, walkthroughs and multiple art installations worldwide. The navy blue further dominates on walls and floors to create a comforting yet active atmosphere. Once inside, multiple translations in the light with the use of new technology further helps pump ones senses and feel further exhilirated and hence active. Oroczo exclaims, “When the lights go out, the challenge starts with a play of lights that will invite you to give it all!”

It is enthralling to see an age old bicycle, which was used for transportation outdoors, has now transformed into creating routines for workouts. And while it is one thing to line up the machines and work up a sweat, it is another to join a spinning class that envelopes you in a spirit of active enthusiasm, energy and zeal to actually give it your all.

  • Vibrant hues mark a distinct design expression in the changing rooms Image Credit: Casa Blanca
  • The transition from bright to subtle hues as one walks into the lavatory area Image Credit: Casa Blanca
  • Inside the lavatory area Image Credit: Casa Blanca

Project Details

Official Name of the Project: Refuse! Indoor Cycling
Architect: EstudioFernandaOrozco
Location: Jalisco, Guadalajara, Mexico
Design Team: Fernanda Orozco, Ana Lorena Ortega, Daniela Viveros
Year of Completion: 2019
Area: 120 sqm
Branding: Estudio Reforma

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About Author

Meghna Mehta

Meghna Mehta

An architect by education and a journalist by passion, Mehta pursued a crossroad between her two interests. Having completed an M.Arch from CEPT University in Ahmedabad, she has worked in the field of architectural journalism for over 5 years. Besides content generation for STIR, she continues to teach in architectural schools in Mumbai.

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