James Thorp of Thorp Design is obsessive about detail. When we visited KXGymUK (KX pronounced 'kicks') close to Chelsea's King's Road, he was disappointed to find a few of the towels had not been folded and inserted in his specially built racks as he had demonstrated. The aim of total control is pursued through an inclusive package of design, project management and the use of selected subcontractors the designers know well.
A new venture by a former banker, KXGymUK aims to provide a 'whole environment', to be 'London's most exclusive gym, offering a sanctuary to some of the world's most private people'. For the future, the client feels there is probably only a market for this level of facility as one or two clubs per European country.
KXGymUK is focused on fitness, providing exercise bikes, treatment rooms, kick boxing, fitness classes, plunge pools, flotation tank, steam rooms, a small lounge, plus a 'shopfront' of cafe and shop. This is a club for busy people working at fitness. The bikes can be networked via the Internet to your personal fitness trainer anywhere in the world.
The location is the old nine-floor Harrods repository, the basement and ground floor latterly used as a restaurant, now gutted to provide 170m 2of space, with plant at the back and on the roof. Existing columns have been accommodated. A new stair and bridge provide central circulation. Within this framework, the background is mainly neutral with flash-gap detailing, except for the heavy use of Macassar ebony veneer wall panels. In some areas, softening comes from floors using the yacht deck technology of teak boards caulked with rubber, accommodating timber movement without cracks.
All is measured and rectilinear, lines accentuated by strong lighting, the custom furniture as if detailed on graph paper. Dust would not dare settle.
CLIENT KXDNA: Simon Fry
DESIGNER Thorp Design: Igor Falkovsky, James Thorp, Philippa Thorp
MAIN CONTRACTOR PC Shopfitting
JOINERY Beacher Joinery