Wellness Sky by 4of7

| 27 comments

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Belgrade-based design studio 4of7 and London-based practice Superfuisonlab have completed the conversion of a former restaurant in Belgrade, Serbia, into a gym and spa.

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The former communist building is cantilevered 15 metres above the river.

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Approximately 390 translucent, triangular, back-lit panels are suspended from the ceiling's steel structure.

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More information about the project on the 4of7 blog. Photography by Ana Kostic.

The following information is from 4of7:

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Project: Wellness Sky
Size: 1100m2
Location: Belgrade, Serbia
Design Team: Djordje Stojanovic, Vlada Pavlovic, Slavko Milanovic
Foto credit: Ana Kostic

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The building named ’Danube Flower’ was built some thirty-five years ago to become a landmark at Belgrade waterfront. It used to house an exclusive restaurant which was a segment of a larger recreational centre accessible to the public. The project was sponsored by the communist government of the time and endorsed by then ubiquitous president J.B.Tito, who was the first guest at the restaurant on November 22nd 1973.

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It was a famed hangout spot until its decay in the nineties and its final closure which coincided with the start of the civil war in the country. For the period of fifteen years building was not in operation and has deteriorated considerably.

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In many ways the building is particular but above all for its synthesis between architectural and structural reasoning. The main volume of the building, triangular in plan, is elevated some fifteen meters above the river and the ground level with the pedestrian esplanade. It is supported solely by the central core which contains two elevator shafts and double spiral staircase. Cantilevers are reaching out some twelve meters giving a levitating feel to the building.

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In addition one more structural move is crucial for seamless interaction between exterior and interior of the building. Concrete floor-slab and ceiling shell are not connected at the perimeter of the building, allowing for the continuity of the glass façade to the full extent. Uninterrupted glass strip, with the total length of 150 meters, is wrapping around the building to give constant presence of the Danube River in the interior, with sweeping views reaching far out, both upstream and downstream.

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Together with the client organization, already reputed for its high-end gym and spa in the city centre, we have formulated a project brief promoting active lifestyle. We have defined the Sky Wellness concept suggesting that place should be light and spacious so that visitors should be getting an impression of entering a cloud on arrival.

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In response we have opted for reflective resin floor finishes throughout and semi translucent Barrisol stretched ceiling; both aiming to expose sleek forms of Technogym training equipment in the open plan arrangement.

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Originally, building was planed on the grid of 7.3m equilateral triangles which defined its organizational and structural regularity, but with the different brief now we were looking for a change. Defining moment of the new spatial expression is the suspended.

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Its design is the sequence of geometric transformations and subdivision applied to the original grid. As a result, approximately 390 backlit panels with the finite variation in shape and size are suspended from the triangular steel construction.

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  • waka

    the original building seems to be very spectacular, the same for the intervention. great!

  • marchitecto

    the ceiling makes me feel tired, very busy pattern

  • http://bojanavuksanovic.blogspot.com bojana v.

    ..think this project is very successful – dramatic/smart – its micro and macro geometry match – the triangular plan, and repeated elements give building connecting rules and unifying logic… what makes it exciting is seeing this v. bold, not to say, static equiangular plan shape been broken down to quite dynamic patterns – continuation of the original geometry…

  • http://bojanavuksanovic.blogspot.com bojana v.

    …not to mention the way it hangs of the site…. congratulations!

  • http://www.andrew-liebchen.com Andrew Liebchen

    A building produced by a communist dictatorial state is repurposed into a gym fueled by capitalism and advertising culture. From one extreme to the other?

  • Tyler

    Good one Andrew, I was thinking the exact same thing!

  • Nacho

    beware, the imperial forces of star wars are landing in earth

  • Anthony

    Good use of Barrisol, it has provided a great sense of lightness to the ceiling and a simplicity in the details between the ‘panels’, but I am genuinely curious as to how the lighting behind is changed? Obviously it has to have been considered, could 6of7 comment?

  • cgcg

    …you mean fueled by free choice I hope? Otherwise, good luck convincing former victims of a communist regime that there experience then is somehow equivalent to the products of entrepreneurialism.

    Anyway, I’d work out there.

  • One

    beautiful ceiling… wonderful. the best I have seen this year.. Congrat for this cool space.

  • yimyim

    Melbourne’s federation square anyone?
    nice drawings!

  • Chroma

    Interior looks amazing, a result of a lot of hours on detailing those ceiling panels of course. Its a bit too bright for a gym for my taste, but all in all looks very (dare I say) cool. Its an interior fit for a movie, the next bond maybe?

  • new “elite”

    It is a shame that such a building changes function – a restaurant at that location could have brought much more value, as was thought from the beginning. Now, with all the investment, who do you think will have access to such a place, if not the new “elite”?

  • Soupdragon

    Nice intervention in an interesting (if somewhat scarey space), very cinematic.

    Pics 5 & 6 from the top remind me of Short Circuit for some reason. Jonny 5 is alive! :-)

  • belgrader

    @Andrew Liebchen, Tyler, new elite, …

    This building was originally designed (in 1973) to be a Sports center, it served as a Sports center for 35 yrs, so transforming its unused restaurant part into a gym is not extreme change of function but rather the logical step.

  • banana

    I like the decision to intervene on the ceiling, since u can see it from outside as well.
    @ Andrew Liebchen> what do you suggest for buildings produced by communist dictatorial state?

  • http://www.andrew-liebchen.com Andrew Liebchen

    @ all: To quote from the text above: ” It used to house an exclusive restaurant which was a segment of a larger recreational centre accessible to the public…. ” A raised, cantilevered structure is great for that: limited access to a floating world creates exclusivity. So sure, I suppose re-purposing the building for a “client organization, already reputed for its high-end gym and spa in the city centre,” is fitting. One elite user (the communist big-wig eating the the restaurant) is replaced by another elite user(the wealthy, atheleticized). Great job!

  • ewa

    well, i just can say its the first building which makes the positive thoughts comes to me for a big while.
    its pretty nice object.
    and roof as well. its like structure of wings
    nice!

  • M

    Now this is pretty interesting!! It has the postindustrial aesthetics and still is very simple. Tessellation’s look always amazing specially as they used it. Come on a GYM? its a complete waist of a beautiful space!

  • leandro locsin

    where are the smoke detectors and the sprinkler heads ?? hmmm one minute youre running at the treadmill, the next youd be running for your life.

  • http://www.atkinsglobal.com Enrico Barredo Perez

    How was the separation of exits achieved if the they are not as remotely located?

  • http://designvmeste.com.ua Anton

    I thought I visited fitness club with nice design, but now … well, this one just coool! I just imagine how visitors enjoy the scenery view!

  • Nanne

    Very sensitive and nice work for a great building in a great city. Great work! Hope it wil revitalize this interesting area further.

  • Mike

    Perfect ceiling!
    Great work. and great team..

  • Luxury Larry

    WOW…this is beautiful. We should have one here in UK to encourage those fatties to the gym! Work it work it!

  • Philip

    Lord Vader’s Gym, cool.

  • Jelena

    I’m still in shock after seeing that photo of distroyed restaurant, though I knew what happened to it.
    The gym may seem nice, but since I know how beautiful and unique the Danube Flower (Dunavski Cvet) restaurant was…still can’t believe that such a space above the river with a fantastic view is used in that purpose.
    It’s bringing tears to my eyes.
    plus I’m emotionally tied to it, my dad was a chef there for 15 years, and I spent great part of my childhood in that wonderful restaurant.
    Sad…
    Maybe one day…it will be a restaurant again.