Big Mirror Brings Natural Light Into Below-Grade Health Club

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Opened last April in a mall underneath a Dick’s Sporting Goods, with all but its street-level entrance located below grade, Gold’s Gym Northridge could easily have sent body building back into the dark ages of windowless workout bunkers. Instead, the 40,000-square-foot fitness facility takes advantage of what natural light it brings in through a 24-by-50-foot glass-enclosed entry by reflecting it down a switchback staircase and into the club lobby. The 12-foot-high-by-40-foot-wide mirror that accomplishes this task is branded (making it an increasingly popular selfie backdrop) and tinted blue (an energizing color, according to research). It runs parallel to the 12-foot-wide stairs, the risers of which feature their own artificial lighting effects, to create a welcoming, high-end lobby experience below. According to Rudy Fabiano of Fabiano Designs, the mirror, which along with an entry-level ceiling detail added roughly $35,000 to the total project cost, succeeds in two ways. “One, to expand the space, so you don’t feel like you’re in a hallway when you’re coming in upstairs,” he says. “But secondly, it’s really to reflect a lot of that natural light and start bouncing it around on the stairs to bring it downstairs. For the first 20 or 30 feet of the lower level, it’s quite bright. It doesn’t feel like you’re going into a basement. By the time you get down there, you remember all the natural light, and even when you’re leaving, the lit staircase gives you a sense of brightness. It all contributes to that elevated look and feel versus ‘Let’s go in the dungeon and work out.’ ”

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