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The Importance of Gym Lighting

Posted by Arianna Ghezzi on 16 Aug 2021

Being passionate about fitness and a yoga advocate, I can spend long hours in the gym.

As a lighting designer, I always have an opinion on the lighting when I visit spaces. I find myself, more than once, judging the lighting of the place where I am training!

Lighting is such an essential aspect of our lives, influencing our wellbeing and the perception of the space. It is crucial that it is considered when lighting gyms.

Gyms with good daylight provide a better experience, allowing the human body to sync the circadian rhythm; however, where natural lighting is lacking, the experience can be improved by using calibrated artificial lighting.

Keeping in mind the effect of artificial lighting on the human body, it would be good practice to introduce tuneable white lighting within the gym illumination. This technology allows tuning the colour of the light to provide, for example, cooler lighting in the morning, so the user will feel more alert and energised. While the colour of the lights can switch towards a warmer spectrum to create a more relaxing and calming experience when the space is used for mobility or yoga classes, especially during the late afternoon or evening. 

The placing of the light fixture is also very important to avoid reflections or glare on the machinery, as well as providing the flexibility if the gym equipment is moved across the space. One suggestion would be to allow for both direct (for example downlights or spotlights) and indirect lighting (for example perimeter cove light or uplighting to the ceiling via cove/indirect lighting at the back of suspended fixtures), so the multiple scenarios can be achieved.

The indirect lighting would allow the space to feel bright and spacious, without causing glare wen the users are exercising on the back and looking up to the ceiling.

The spotlights instead, can help create pulls of light on the floor or focused accents on equipment display, controlling the beam of lights on the surfaces which are required to be lit. We should also mention the lighting control will play an important role in the gym experience, allowing to build different lighting scenes and dimming the lights, to allow bright scenes as well more moody scenarios. The design of different lighting scenes will also allow to bring some fixtures into the space only when required, for example, for cleaning purposes.

In high impact classes, RGBW or Pixel lighting can also be designed to be linked to the Audio system for a very immersive experience, where the lighting is pulsing, changing colour or following the rhythm of the music played, for a full energising and mesmerizing atmosphere.

In the gym design, we should also pay particular attention to the lighting within the changing rooms. These areas can be used for getting ready before work or going out, so good level of lighting are required at vanities and mirrors. The mirrors in fact should have both vertical and horizontal illumination, a good combination could be a spotlight aligned to the basin tap and wall lights either side of the mirror or even a Hollywood mirror which can also become a fun element for Instagram pictures post workout!

Gyms are becoming spaces where the users spend quite a long time, pre and post workouts enjoying the café, co-working spaces or relaxing in areas such as saunas or meditation rooms. The lighting scheme will be different in each of these spaces, helping creating different atmospheres: the lighting most likely will have different colour temperatures depending on the area/use. Also, it will be detailed to be more functional (for task areas) or decorative (above cafe tables or in the shape of small table lights in the relaxation rooms), or even being integrated within displays in retail or cafe areas.

Lastly gym lights should be fun and inspirational: digital screens with sensational images, colour changing backlit surfaces or motivational neon lights will improve the overall design of the space, inviting the users to spend more time working out.

A selection of our gym projects that provide examples of the above. 

The Edwardian Manchester 

The Lanesborough Club & Spa, London

Athens Capital Center Hotel