Kinetica, UK

September 11, 2015

The Third Space health club & medical centre in Soho, London was originally designed by architect Mark Goldstein of Goldstein Ween Architects. Offering a more creative take on the traditional health club, it includes a climbing wall, altitude training area, boxing and power lifting facilities as well as a sports medical facility. The space was also filled with fine works of art and sculpture adding to the luxurious nature of the club.

The skylight in the centre of the original interior was essential to the design, allowing natural light to flood through the well to all areas, down to a glass floor above the swimming pool. However, due to the Crown Estate taking over part of its space, the skylight was removed. Within this void, the need for a feature arose, which wouldn’t just fill the space with glare-free light but would also become a talking point, adding value to the club through association.

With the knowledge of Goldstein’s honest approach to materials and the celebration of engineered structural elements, Kinetica was born – a bespoke light sculpture by Hugo Light Design (HLD).

HLD had an existing relationship with Ollie Vigors and Joel Cadbury, the directors of Longshot Ltd. – previous owners of The Third Space – as it had provided lighting design services to them in the past. From this, they recommended HLD to the new director of The Third Space, Eric Dunmore, to provide a lighting design for the new reception.

The brief was to create something that filled the space without dominating it and without blocking the views through to different levels. It would also attempt to replace the lost natural light, creating a bright and enjoyable space with enough light to safely train in and create a comfortable environment, energising the club’s visitors.

The sculpture had to be designed in a modular fashion to ensure it could be assembled quickly and simply, considering the limited hours that the club is closed. Therefore Kinetica was put together in situ with Set Works quickly and easily, from component parts manufactured by B Hepworth and Co. Given the club’s long opening hours, about 90% of the light sources used in the club are low energy, with a system installed to run these at 90% of full output, reducing the energy consumption and increasing the life of the light sources.

Above the sculpture, an 8m x 5m space made the installation process difficult and therefore required scaffolding and careful planning. Additionally, two of three bulkheads above the sculpture had limited recess within them and due to the building and steel being very old, there were very few opportunities within limited runs to mount control gear to ensure the sculpture would work correctly. Therefore a detailed plan of the wiring and suspension points was put together, including weights and positions. Suspension points had to be carefully calculated by a structural engineer considering the old existing steels.

In order to further make up for the loss of natural light, a mirror finish was installed on the ceiling prior to installation to create the illusion of a limitless void above. Using a Pharos control system to animate the sculpture, Kinetica engages health club visitors to appreciate the architecture of its surroundings through dynamic lighting.

Along with Kinetica, the reception and medical centre lighting was designed by HLD to ensure that the general lighting in the space was integrated within the structure, concealed and celebrating the architectural design. This was accentuated by more decorative industrial luminaires, which were chosen to compliment the scheme and to create a more intimate atmosphere where necessary. These included: Historic Lighting’s Verdgris pendant in the reception, Bocci’s illuminated glass pendant in the medical reception and Verner Panton’s Flowerpot pendant in the reception meet and greet area.