The Virgin Active Club, on Melbourne’s Collins Street, is part of an international chain of health and fitness facilities. Virgin Active is one of the many businesses of Richard Branson, who started a record store in 1970, and a record label in 1974, and ventured since then into, among much more, an airline in 1984 and mobile telephony in 1999.
In that same year Virgin opened its first three Active Clubs in England, which expanded to six other countries (Portugal, Spain, Italy, South Africa, Singapore and Australia). This club in Melbourne’s Central Business District is designed by WMK Architects. It consists of 4,400 square meters of health and fitness, including an interactive cycling studio, an indoor climbing wall, and a ‘wet’ part with a 25 meter indoor pool, sauna and spa. Throughout the club one can find a combination of AGROB BUCHTAL floor and wall tiles from the Emotion and Valley series and Jasba mosaics.
The interior, which reflects WMK’s cool elegance, is determined by the earthy tones, from the pebble-grey 300 x 600 mm Valley porcelain tiles at the entrance zone to the sand beige and slate in the pool area, where 100 x 100 mm Emotion tiles have been applied, providing the necessary anti-slip functionality in both wet and dry areas. These have been combined with a Finland pool edge system. Complementing the earthy appearance of the floor tiles, several of the building’s columns as well as the shower areas are tiled in dark wenge Jasba mosaics with a metallic finish (from the Senja range). In the huge spa aqua blue loop mosaics cover the interior.Architecture can accomplish a lot, but cannot change the undeniable fact that a serious workout is hard work. But at least WMK manages to offer the patrons of this club who rack themselves an ambience of comfort and pleasure to do so.