Can empty malls become the Ultimate Fun & Fitness Destination?

Trends in fitness have changed over the years and new facilities are opening constantly. Facilities like OrangeTherory, F45, and Soulcycle are taking the fitness industry by storm. These companies all offer group based workouts that are typically between 45 and 60 minutes. These new companies all have something else in common, they are very conscious of their brand. The spaces are designed with bold colours, cool elements and funky lighting. Check out this London based gym 1REBEL designed by New York based firm Sheridon&Co. It is a great example of how design is used to create a unique experience. Social media has forced companies to pay attention to details because they may end up in posts, pictures and videos on social media.  With the retail landscape changing, I’m surprised that brands like Nike, Under Armour or Adidas haven’t opened fitness facilities.  Lulu Lemon offers free yoga classes in some of their locations, which is a great example of how to build a brand experience.

There is a store in Shanghai China called Runner Camp  that has taken this idea and created a complete fitness/retail facility with a running track, change rooms, showers and lockers. From a research and development point of view, these types of facilities could act as testing grounds for new products, locations for events and places to build great brand experiences.

In many cities, there is currently a shortage of recreational facilities like skating rinks or indoor soccer fields. As smaller boutique fitness brands set up in urban areas, the once powerful mall, with large empty stores could act as an ideal location for fun and fitness destinations, similar to attractions like Ski Dubai at the Mall of Emirates or this awesome Sega transformed Parkour Gym.


Tony Spagnolo

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