ADJ products are used by DJs, entertainers and lighting professionals across the globe and are installed in bars, clubs, theatres, roller rinks, amusement parks, bowling alleys and churches worldwide. The ability for lighting to transform a space and create atmosphere, whatever that may be, is what links all of these applications and is also why ADJ lighting equipment was installed in the flagship New York studio of 305 Fitness.
Named after Miami’s area code, 305 Fitness is a dance cardio workout phenomenon that is sweeping the East Coast. It combines a live DJ set with an instructor-led non-stop cardio class that is designed to feel like a night out partying disguising a workout. Indeed, the new – but rapidly expanding – company’s slogan is ‘we turn your workout into a party’.
Founded by young fitness instructor and entrepreneur Sadie Kurzban while still in college, 305 Fitness’ unique combination of workout and dance party has proven incredibly popular. Initially operated from rented spaces in gyms and dance studios, in fall of 2014 the company opened its first dedicated studio at 18W 8th Street in New York.
Wanting to create a space that would complement her unique style of workout, Sadie brought in lighting designer Robert Bloom to come up with a lighting system that could bring a 1am dance party vibe to a 7am workout! A theatrically-trained lighting designer with experience in theatre, rock and roll as well as corporate lighting work, Robert is currently the touring lighting designer with hip-hop group The Roots and also takes on other varied lighting projects.
“It appears to be like any other dance studio: mirror on the wall, sprung floor, an array of white downlights. People come in and they stretch, but as soon as the music starts a lightshow erupts overhead, creating a truly unique experience.” - Robert Bloom
Check out ADJ products in action at 305 Fitness:
Designing the lighting system for 305 Fitness’ studio proved to be a different sort of challenge for Robert than the mainstay of his work as, although heavily influenced by the EDM club scene, the requirements of this project were significantly different. “Fundamentally it is a workout, so I had to keep that in mind,” he told us. “Unlike in a nightclub, where lighting design is often about darkness and negative space, for this project the ability for the participants to see was important. So there’s no darkness and also no moving elements, no haze, no strobes and no blinders; it was important to stay away from anything that could become disorienting. Instead it’s very much a surface show and those surfaces are the floor, the ceiling and the dancers themselves.”
To create this unique combination of high-energy club feel and continuous ambient lighting, Robert chose ADJ’s COB LED-powered Dotz Par fixtures. This choice was based on a desire for an LED par that offers uniform color mixing and an even output as well as a wide beam angle. Robert’s vision for the system was to fill the ceiling of the studio space with a grid of fixtures pointed straight down that could be pixel-mapped to create impressive effects based purely on color changes. The affordability of the Dotz Par was another reason it was chosen, as it allowed the use of a large number of fixtures despite a, relatively, modest budget.
A total of 64 Dotz Par fixtures were installed in the studio along with 12 ADJ ECO UV Bar DMX units. The main lightshow is provided by a grid of 52 Dotz Pars which are spaced out in 5-foot intervals, mounted to pipes attached to the ceiling, which are themselves spaced 4-foot apart. A further 12 Dotz Pars are then arranged across the back wall, spaced at 12-inch intervals, to create down-lighting effects.
The result is a system that is physically unobtrusive but incredibly effective when seen in action. “When you walk into the room,” Robert explained, “it appears to be like any other dance studio: mirror on the wall, sprung floor, an array of white downlights. People come in and they stretch, but as soon as the music starts a lightshow erupts overhead, creating a truly unique experience.”
When it came to programming the lighting, Robert’s theatrical background meant that he approached the task with the intention of creating more than a set of straight-forward effects. “The show itself has its own arc,” he told us. “The first ten minutes are pretty basic, both visually speaking and from a programming stand point. There’s a little eye candy on the back wall, but the downlights are all consistent in brand colors. But then in the middle section, as more dance choreography starts to happen, we begin fleshing out what the rig can do. We show off a little from a pixel-mapped perspective, running low-res video patterns across the ceiling-mounted fixtures. The rig also features an aggressive amount of black light, provided by the ADJ ECO UV Bar DMX fixtures, which is our ‘second act surprise’ at about two thirds of the way through the class. The music slows down for a hip-hop section and everyone lights up in UV which is a real crowd pleaser. Then the final third of the show is a full-throttle light show matched to the music.”
Although all of the 305 Fitness’ sessions incorporate a live DJ, it was clear from the outset that a dedicated lighting operator was out of the question, which impacted how the system was setup. “From a control standpoint, the full system is run on a grandMA console and is programmed to allow for minimum input from the DJ,” Robert explained. “But it is still a live show and I’m very proud that it’s not time-coded, it’s a show that lives and breathes and moves, through real-time choices being made by the DJ. At a minimum, the DJ has to press a Go button seven times to advance from section to section, but there are also a whole bunch of Flash buttons and Effects, which I’ve described to the DJs as ‘visual air horns’. This means that they can do as much or as little as they want, as long as they make the transitions between the sections, which is important as the BPM of the class changes from section to section.”
Both the creative vision of Robert’s design and his efforts in programming the show have resulted in a system that perfectly integrates with, and enhances, the 305 Fitness Experience. “The client reaction was great,” he told us. “Sadie said ‘you’re one of the people who really get this’. She now feels that the lightshow is an integral part of the 305 Fitness brand. The fact that there are lighting effects that are matched to the BPM of the music fundamentally makes the space feel good in a way that probably more than half of the people in the room are unaware of. That rhythm, and those dynamics, is what is making 305 Fitness really stand out.”
The success of both 305 Fitness and Robert’s lighting system is clear to see. The company has already expanded its initial studio with a second space for yoga classes, which has also been fitted with ADJ Dotz Pars. Another, larger, midtown New York facility featuring two studios has also opened recently. Both of these studios have been fitted out with lighting systems based on Robert’s original design, but scaled up (for the larger studio 1) and scaled down (for the smaller studio 2). Following the company’s success in New York, 305 Fitness is already expanding into other areas (Washington, D.C. and Boston) with dedicated facilities featuring Robert’s ADJ lighting rig likely to open soon.
Bringing together a healthy, full-body workout with the fun of a dance party, 305 Fitness’ appeal is easy to understand. As word spreads, we’re sure that the company will continue to grow and more and more people will have a good time getting in shape. The fact that they’ll do it illuminated by an ADJ lighting system is testament to both the Dotz Par and ECO UV Bar DMX fixtures as well as the creativity and vision of Robert Bloom.
305 Fitness (18W 8th St, NY, NT 10011 & 33 E. 33rd Street, NY, NY 10016)
Lighting Designer & Photographer:
Robert Bloom (RBB Designs)
ADJ Dealer & Installer:
Christien Methot, Design one
Desbrisay & Smith Architects
ADJ Gear List:
64 x ADJ Dotz Pars
12 x ADJ ECO UV Bar DMX
ADJ Products used at 305 Fitness: