Wallpaper, chandeliers and walnut: cult gym brand Equinox steps up the Vancouver workout scene.

We once were satisfied with a gym experience as long as it had a working treadmill and the TV was turned to the Food Network. But since the arrival of Equinox onto the Vancouver fitness scene, the bar for our standards (or should we say “barre”?) has been seriously raised.

The space channels a chic West Coast spa vibe while providing gym rats with 33,000 square feet to play in. “What struck us about Vancouver is its juxtaposition between being urban and the connection to the natural world,” says Aaron Richter, senior vice-president of design for Equinox. “There’s a play between man-made and natural materials, between smooth and rough textures, between intimate and grand spaces.”

Organic elements like bleached walnut behind the reception desk and concrete floors set the tone from the front door through to the lounge (complete with a fireplace); a mirrored ceiling adds a hit of city-slicker glamour. In the studio spaces, wallpaper brings texture and pattern into otherwise minimalist rooms. There are no downlights here, to accommodate comfort during on-your-back workouts. “Lighting is functional first,” says Richter, but, that being said, it’s also not completely utilitarian: a Tom Dixon Plane chandelier hangs above a black iron staircase, welcoming members to a gym that sweats the small stuff with pride.

For more great spaces, subscribe to the WL newsletter!