L'Orange Bleue Group, Fitness and wellness club
Be it for health or relaxation, people love doing sport. Fitness clubs are a less restrictive and more accessible way of exercising, offering variety and flexibility to their members, who have continued to grow in number over the years. Although fitness club member numbers were affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown measures, they are on the rise again, with currently more than 56 million club members across Europe, according to the European Health & Fitness Market study conducted by Deloitte and EuropeActive.
A similar trend is underway in France, as showcased by the l’Orange Bleue network. L’Orange Bleue is the undisputed leader in the sector, with 400,000 members, over 400 clubs dedicated to fitness and well-being, and another 100 in the process of opening. It has run franchised clubs throughout Europe since 2017. The story began in Rennes Métropole in 1996, with an idea by state-qualified sports coaches Thierry Marquer and Julie Benoit. Keen to offer a less restrictive and more accessible fitness club concept, after the success of the first local clubs they decided to launch the project at national level through a franchise system. This franchised fitness club model pioneered by l’Orange Bleue has been widely imitated and also has the advantage of giving members access to all clubs under same brand while offering tailored programs.
L’Orange Bleue clubs are popular and busy so they’re clearly a hit. True to the group’s mantra, the network’s clubs are designed using the same model and all promote a sense of relaxation to encourage well-being. L’Orange Bleue clubs are kitted out with fitness equipment and have dedicated weight training areas, with many types of weights, dumbbells and kettlebells. They also have common areas, such as break rooms and studios for group classes.
On top of members coming and going and the normal wear and tear that happens to public buildings, clubs also need to make sure their premises are inviting and have a flawless level of hygiene.
When a shared public space is used for lifting weights and cast iron, anticipating the risk associated with shocks and bumps from the equipment on the walls is really important. Failure to do so means the plaster and the paint will get damaged too quickly and the whole space will start to look tired.
Although this type of damage is a genuine concern for the managers and maintenance teams of sports and leisure facilities, it is completely normal and is part and parcel of running a fitness club. It’s easy to picture a barbell loaded with weights rolling away or someone dropping a dumbbell after an overly ambitious weight selection – both will end up hitting the wall and leaving dents. And that’s not the only damage these objects can cause. Although the rubber coating on many dumbbells limits the amount of deep and irreparable bumps in the plaster, it doesn’t protect it from the black friction traces left by the material. The same goes for the marks left behind by the shock-absorbing floor mats that also leave unsightly traces on the bottom of the walls, which are usually painted a light colour.
Refurbishment and redecorating work has to be planned on a recurring basis to avoid further damage and negative impressions. However, unlike with facilities that close for set periods each year, when the club is open virtually 24/7, scheduling in this work is tricky.
Added to this, there’s also the cost of the works and materials. That’s before you even factor in the loss of turnover if the club has to close during the refurbishments. Although carrying out this type of work in facilities in use is simple enough in many sectors, it can be harder to do so in a leisure and relaxation setting. It goes without saying that yoga or meditation and refurbishment works aren’t a great match.
To prolong the life cycle of interior walls and avoid having to regularly redecorate, the interior designer at l’Orange Bleue HQ turned to Construction Specialties and the solutions and finishes we offer.
After visiting the Construction Specialties France website and detailing the specific project requirements, the group’s interior designer was put in touch with our technical sales representative, Marjory Eot. Following a presentation of wall protection solutions suitable for communal and public access buildings and after assessing the limitations present in a fitness club, it was the Acrovyn® wall protector that impressed the rep from l’Orange Bleue group.
Wall protectors are simple and effective interior finishes that promote sustainable design. They act as a barrier between the walls and other objects to prevent damage from bumps, while also being easy to clean and remove stains from. Acrovyn® wall protectors are designed to respond to all the functional limitations of the club and have a bacteriostatic finish – something that’s always appreciated in a space where sweat is one of the main products of an intense session!
They are available in 37 solid colours and 12 decorative finishes. Our Pearl Grey colour proved to be the most appropriate for the new decorative theme being planned by the group. Fitted on the base of the walls, Acrovyn® sheets protect the walls in weight training areas from bumps as well as marks made by rubberised weights. While rubber and vinyl traces can be difficult to remove from matte paint, you can easily get them off Acrovyn®. This makes room maintenance quick and easy and helps to create a pleasant atmosphere.
The effectiveness of the solution implemented in the first fitness club has led the members of l’Orange Bleue network to choose Acrovyn® to protect their facilities from wear and tear. Following the success of Acrovyn® in this example club, the product and its many advantages were showcased during the group’s conference, with network managers in attendance.
After this presentation backed by l’Orange Bleue, the Acrovyn® wall protector won over club owners, who were impressed by its durability and the potential cost savings.