Work in Use

Work in Use designs exercise equipment from fine materials

A gymnastics balance beam, rubber blocks and brass weights are among this collection of high-end gym equipment, designed by Rhode Island studio Work in Use.

Work is Use has launched a series of designs made from materials including wood, brass and leather for workout tools that differ from equipment often made of plastic. The pieces can be used for everyday practice, in addition to movement training that fuses gymnastics with elements of dance and martial arts.

Work in Use
The collection features a wooden gymnastics balancing bar that is elevated just above the ground

The new collection comprises a series of handrails, weights, bar and rings.  These items are frequently used by Work in Use founder Wu – a graduate of Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) – who came up with the idea while practising the Ido Portal Method in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

Work in Use
The beam is textured to provide grip for feet

"I was training with a movement coach, and I was thinking that I need more things that I could use at home," Wu told Dezeen. "My coach was having me do a lot of balancing, and I realised there's not a nice balance rail out there, so I made one."

Wu sought to create pieces that could improve her practice and fuse her experience as a designer.

Work in Use
Wu designed this curved volume for practising pull-ups

"It spiralled into a collection of nice things that I need for myself," she said.

Among the collection is a Ping Balance Rail, a rod-like piece that measures 48 inches (1.2 metres) long. It is designed to be walked on for practising balance, and is made of either rubber or oiled cherry wood with a powder-coated speckle texture for better grip.

Work in Use
It is detailed with leather strips grips

The rail is supported on blocks made of either natural hardwoods or cast translucent rubber – these can also be used on their own for mobility work or as yoga blocks. There is an integrated registration pin that attaches the block bases to the rod as well.

Other designs in the series include the solid brass Yaling hand weights with knurling for grip, which Wu created as an alternative to dumbells.

Work in Use
Also featured are cylindrical bars made of brass are for weights

The set of six comes in an oiled hard maple stand that supports three pairs of two cylindrical volumes of different lengths. Pieces increase in size as the weight gets heavier, with rods being 2.5 pounds (1.1 kg), 4.5 pounds (2 kg), and 6.5 pounds (3 kg).

Work in Use
Etchings around the tubes make them easier to hold

The collection's pull-up bar is made of walnut and cordovan steel, called Lachi, and is designed to be used over-the-door. The horizontal bar and bent vertical pieces are welded in a fish mouth joint. Leather wrapping on either end of the handlebar is intended to provide a softer touch.

A pair of wood bars on supports, called Jia Paralletes, are based on common equipment pieces used in gyms for simulated parallel bar movements, typically for strength building and gymnastic training.

Work in Use
Wooden gymnastic rings come with buckled straps

Yuan Rings, or gymnastic rings, are made of circles of curved wood, and accompanied by a set of cast bronze buckles and nylon straps.

All of these objects are meant to be used and displayed in the home as a celebration of their craft and materiality, rather than hidden or placed out of sight.

Work in Use
Wood is carved through a system called bricklaying that reveals various grains

Each is handmade in Work in Uses's studio in Providence, Rhode Island, and produced a collaboration with a community of fabricators around the area and New England.

Wu, who spent five years working wood for Egg Collective in New York City, established her studio this summer, just after graduating with a masters in furniture design at RISD.

Work in Use
Strength training can be practised with free-standing pieces

She launched the design-focused workout series at the Next Level exhibition, which took place during this year's New York City design festival. The collection was a finalist in the Emerging Product Designer category as part of NYCxDesign, joining other emerging studios such as Yield, Ty Williams and Eny Lee Parker

In addition to these movement tools, other fitness designs include a bike station that makes bread, a balancing stool by Darryl Agawin and a computer with a keyboard made of punching bags.

Photography is by Nic Der.

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Work in Use