Hyde Park Art Center Creative Wing

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What does an enlightened locker-room culture look like?

The conversion of a laundry room into a lounge for an university basketball team was seen as an opportunity to question typical institutional interior design motivations and tactics that link environmental branding to program - in this case: a place where young men will study for classes or play video games, while drinking protein shakes in their underwear.

While, the design pragmatically provides student-athletes a secure, private space to study, rest and socialize, its aesthetic is oddly blank compared to its context. The lounge is buried deep within a conventional locker room suite: changing room, restrooms, showers, film room. The suite, like the interiors of the overall athletic facility, is saturated with a wide range of information, deployment methods and architectural elements. Framed team photos, promotional wall decals, elaborate neon signs and plagues, logo embroidered carpet, custom wall panels fill the facility with a discombobulated promotional aesthetic, typical of the contemporary sports world. With no overt communicative devices, the lounge is designed as a respite for this kind of environment. Lined in rich textiles, perforated ceiling panels and millwork, the space relies on texture, color and Turrell-like lighting to impress its inhabitants.