Cover LAX. Retreat by Studio Kanta (Photo: David Yeow Photography)

Be it the gym or a spa, a dentist's practice or a pilates studio, these design-led spaces around the city have gone beyond just function

Gone are the days when gyms, spas, and even dental practices are places you just visit and leave once they've served their purpose. Today's wellness spaces have evolved by leaps and bounds in terms of design as these four inspiring spaces around the Klang Valley showcase.

1. Babel Fitness KLCC

Glamorous and maximalist, Babel Fit KLCC is truly a gym like no other. Designed by Genius Loci, the brief was to create a luxurious, stylish, and pampering space not just for beefing up but a place where people would want to be. 

A new lifestyle experience set in the heart of the CBD, the space is well equipped to appeal to fitness fans set among lavish design and art elements. The open reception foyer sets the tone with curvy gold screens, a sculpture of The Thinker, and a sculptural spiral staircase.

Moving through the gym unfolds a series of experiences, with pockets of Instagram-worthy spots resplendent in colours and textures. The main gym space is reimagined as a tropical oasis, with vertical planter walls and neon detailing.

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The changing rooms are particularly fun with reinterpretations of paintings to delineate the genders–'Meow-gogh' for the gents, and the 'Meow-nalisa' representing the ladies. Lush wallpaper, bronze cladding, and marble touches within the changing rooms create welcoming sanctuaries oozing with playfulness.

2. Stretch & Flow

The Five in Damansara Heights hosts a well-curated mix of tenants, one of them being Stretch & Flow, a space which combines a yoga studio and stretch clinic. Designed by Studio Kanta, the welcoming space is beautifully detailed with natural materials like wood and stone.

The client was so impressed by the studio's Fern Boutique in Bangsar Village that they enquired about the designer. For Stretch & Flow, the challenge was finding cohesion between both entities while maintaining a balance between them.

To achieve this, the designer kept the design organic and minimal so that it was serene for the yogis but still professional enough for the physio clientele. Subtle logo mark shapes were also introduced throughout the space, with a particular unique detail being the bent copper water pipe.

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3. Smile & Co

Set in the picturesque Republik building in Damansara Heights, Smile & Co is a dental clinic with a modern colonial theme. More reminiscent of a gracious home than a dental clinic, the space was designed by Ground Up, who coincidentally had just completed a project next door and whose creative director, Megan Lai, was a client of the dentist.

Large windows framed in black bath the space in soft natural light. The reception has a lounge feel with sleek but comfortable furniture, marble accents, and gold trimming around the counter. One unique detail is the recurring rectangular shape with a rounded profile that resembles the shape of teeth applied throughout the space on doors, entryways, carpentry, and furniture.

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4. LAX Retreat

Conceptualised as a women-only retreat, LAX Retreat offers a modern self-care experience in The Linc Kuala Lumpur. The 4,000 sq ft space was designed by Studio Kanta as a reinvented beauty spa with a feminine and contemporary aesthetic.

Every aspect of the beauty service (such as nails, massages, etc.) has been modernised, focusing on reinventing its operations–from choosing your music during a massage to a communal massage space that's not pitch dark–all of which is reflected here which is soothing in every sense.

Every detail was carefully curated to further this end, from the undulating linen curtains to the pink marble manicure bar. A personal touch is studio founder Adrien Kent's hand-painted mural in the communal space.


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