In any community, recreation, health or professional athletic facility, the one thing in common is the locker facility. This is where people are most likely to be vulnerable and they expect a sense of comfort and privacy to facilitate their requirements. While old-school locker rooms were designed with the focus on making the most out of the confined space, with no emphasis on personal space, the need for the room to serve more functionality has evolved tremendously. This is exactly the reason why a simple changing and shower room has now evolved into something resembling a spa-like aesthetic and more designers and builders have incorporated these concepts while planning and designing.
With the mind to provide a place to unwind and relax after a heavy workout session or an intense game of sport, newer trends and design layouts have started to incorporate innovative elements to ensure a surrounding of comfort and ease. It is now focused on streamlining the operations within the locker room with more customer participation and a better experience. With more advancements, these gym locker design trends certainly evolve especially in terms of style and functionality. As it is one of the most expensive sections to build in comparison to other rooms, it is important to specify all the requirements and implement current trends and create an ideal gym locker design concept.
For Architects or Interior Designers who are looking to create an ideal Gym Locker facility, here are some of the design ideas and tips to aid in the process:
Initiate Privacy With Flexibility
Let’s start with the basics, and the main purpose for a locker room, taking a breather and changing in and out of workout gear. This is a space where people can feel quite vulnerable and prefer more privacy. Most traditional locker design ideas are based around the convenience of fully utilizing the space available and offering shared spaces for patrons, especially when the budget is prioritized over comfort, privacy concerns can often be overlooked. However, installing structural walls for partitioning is not always ideal, especially when it comes to commercial buildings. As expensive as the building process, these designs can end up being an expensive way to go.
The more cost-effective solution for builders looking for an alternative? Complete focus on respecting privacy and their comfort level with the use of flexible, robust materials for toilet and shower partitions. Many corporations and facilities have now initiated these kinds of Washroom and Locker Room design and even for changing rooms as it is a great solution to withstand long-term use, while remaining modular and flexible as required. It is also cost-effective in comparison to the traditional wooden or concrete frames that are less flexible in terms of both mobility and cost.
Getting onto the details of visual impact, one can never go wrong with innovative and visually pleasing interiors. This particularly applies to spaces reserved to be relaxing and comfortable like gym lockers, showers and changing rooms. Traditional change rooms or gym locker room designs are always deemed to serve the purpose of storing belongings so it is usually not given much effort or exposure. However, in recent years more Architects & Interior Designers have started to join in the efforts to make this specific space feel more personal. Members of any recreational facilities are expected to feel safe and surrounded by a pleasing aesthetic especially when they are using these facilities. For those creative designers who are looking to add that impactful visual, a well-lit and fully accessorised vanity with adequate space, private changing areas, dedicated wet spaces, bright and vibrant locker colours, graphics and wall murals, definitely adds to it. These all contribute towards an innovative and creative way to design and build effective locker and changing rooms.
Customised Lockers are the way to go!
When we say locker or changing room, the one thing that comes to mind is obviously the lockers available to clients for storing their personal belongings. It is the most essential component and one that needs to be most focused on. With daily innovations on the rise, it is important for people to feel safe leaving their belongings in a secure storage area. From the functionality to the outlook of the lockers, designers and builders need to consider all aspects, especially when working with the specifications and resources available. More is not always better, so it's important to keep in mind that the size of the lockers are aligned with the capacity of the client’s facility.
Next, the locker colors and design should be pleasing to the eyes, but the key element, however, is the safety of the belongings inside these lockers. Ensure complete security of your lockers with a high-level locking system that keeps your patron’s personal property safe and secure. Professional and customised locker systems are now gaining traction, and we can clearly see why. Implementing these customised elements ensures a safe and secure area that will address any security concerns.
As a place to relax and re-energise, another important element of a gym locker design is the seating available. Apart from a space where people shower and change, they often take their break or rest before moving on inside the locker room, so any form of seating should be designed around practicality and ease of use. While traditional locker rooms once offered hard wooden benches with little support, this concept is now being ostracized.
As the importance of making patrons feel at ease has increased, recent trends have added areas designated to sit, hang out and even socialise inside the locker room. Customised benches, common or individual creative seating, allow people to feel more comfortable when using these facilities. With more gyms and facilities tapping into the concept of “Rewarding Locker Rooms”, it is necessary to focus on the user experience. The majority of people do not think the workout they are here for is necessarily fun, however, these elements of comfort inside the gym locker room helps in some sense to make it better. It is essential for professionals to consider locker room seating that also serves as a recreational element while creating an efficient multi-purpose and rewarding changing and locker room design.
Accessibility & Inclusivity
As of 2021, per the World Bank Group, it was found that 15% of the world’s population are differently-abled and experiencing some form of disability. This affects the global population and the need for builders and designers to accommodate this sector and ensure accessibility is essential when planning and designing any space.
Rehabilitating and recreational facilities like physical therapy and gyms, need to emphasise these points. Implementing wheelchair-accessible ramps and pathways, handrails, and easy to access equipment is essential. When it comes to locker room design, with sufficient research and planning, professionals in the niche can take initiative to offer a locker room design ideal for differently-abled clients. Builders looking for unique ways to incorporate these elements should consider customised furniture, locker room seating areas, accessible lockers, ambulant toilet cubicles, showers, parking areas, etc.
Alongside the amenities, the need for technology to go hand in hand with the locker room design is a necessity. This means the implementation of more than just flat-screen monitors to showcase the schedules and events. People are likely to expect a more technologically friendly or smart environment especially as gym locker rooms are where people come to relax. To ensure a modern and comfortable space, the builders should plan a layout that includes some form of air conditioning whether that be fans or heating and cooling units. Gender-specific rooms are also now implementing saunas, steam rooms, and whirlpools that add a whole new level to the gym session experience and recovery. Some recreational facilities are even equipped with WiFi, TVs, mounted iPads and other technology that keeps patrons up to date and connected. Newer sleek looking lockers are replacing drab-looking old-school lockers, adding to the pleasing aesthetic which has now become the major focus of the current building and design trends.
Family Changing Rooms
As an alternative to traditional gender-specific changing or locker rooms, family changing rooms are being added to these facilities. This concept was first popularised 15 years ago and now has become one of the expected parts of many locker room designs. With the need for these kinds of amenities, the surge of the cabana concept is now common. Cabanas are a series of fully serving personal bathrooms and restrooms that are adjoined with an open community space of individual lockers in a variety of sizes. This changing room layout concept is designed around the idea of accommodating the widest range of clienteles.
Unlike traditional gender-specific areas, these are the ideal space for family members, especially for parents and their children to have their privacy while still being together and assist the smaller kids to dress or shower. For people physically challenged and those who require assistance, these spaces also allow privacy and good access. The lockers are similarly designed with an array of locker sizes that accommodates not only individuals but also for a complete family. If you as a builder or designer are looking for a great way to add efficiency and utilize the space available, the concept of community locker spaces is a great implementation alongside the gender-specific facilities.
The social paradigm is always shifting and the amenities and the necessities of these recreational and common gym locker room designs are evolving constantly. This is why builders and designers across the globe are stepping up the game and so should you! Whether creating a space from scratch or renovating existing spaces, one needs to keep all these elements as an imperative part of the planning and designing. Considering the innovative ideas and changes towards the concept of changing and gym locker room design over the decade, we definitely know that it will not stay constant. Educating yourself with the current trends, the necessary elements, and people's expectations is vital to ensure an amazing experience for your patrons while guaranteeing a satisfactory end result.