BLOK Opens Immersive London Club Experience


As the mental health crisis takes its toll on the UK, some London clubs are reimagining fitness experiences to dial in their community.

What’s new: BLOK, a multi-modality boutique fitness brand, opened its third London studio, BLOKspace, in Leyton.

Building on the positive community response to its design-forward Clapton studio, BLOKspace combines minimalist aesthetic, immersive art works, and an edited selection of fitness classes to attract the East London suburb’s thriving community of young creatives.

What’s inside. The avant-garde space, envisioned by design firm anotherform, hosts fitness classes and choreography-inspired art from Flux Projects, with the goal of transforming members’ mental and physical well-being.

Along with six disciplines of classes, a smaller selection than its other clubs, the BLOKspace experience mixes expression with exercise:

  • The club produces a rolling programme of six eight-week visual art exhibitions, called Choreographies, focused around bodies and movement.
  • Each exhibition showcases approximately three artworks – video, sculpture, and either painting or photography – by different artists.
  • Exhibitions include a one-off live event showcasing raw performance art for up to 80 people.

Cultivating community. BLOK is laser-focused on growing a customer base by offering a fitness version of what Leyton’s cultural community is already passionate about. According to Ed Stanbury, CEO and founder, there will be further openings of similar spaces in the future to grow BLOK’s member base.

“We hope that this will be the first of a series of spaces that are more fluid and creative – and allow new communities to access our brand.”

Going local. The pandemic pushed clubs to double down on local community, as more people avoided the office and worked from home. BLOK is just one of many London clubs to open facilities and formats that tap into an existing interest in bringing people together.

  • In 2021, 1Rebel opened its first non-central London club in Hammersmith to target at-home workers and introduced Rig, a community-focused class concept.
  • After relaunching this year in Soho, Topnotch Gyms targeted London’s cycling community by providing members with a vast, secure bike storage facility.
  • London’s Third Space launched a HYROX training programme to meet member demand as the fitness racing concept continues to sell out in the UK.
  • To draw in the “gymtimidation” crowd, The Foundry and W10 Personal Training merged last year with a concept rooted in belonging and motivation.

Looking ahead: While European clubs are making a strong post-pandemic recovery, some of the biggest lessons learned have come in community loyalty. Even as digital fitness continues to support this mission, those adapting physical spaces and experiences to leverage local demand are more likely to stem churn and nurture a stable, growing members community.

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