Don’t call it a gym, don’t call it a social club, the recently opened Heimat, is an entirely new concept that embraces the wellness-centered lifestyle housed in a space that takes interior design to unparalleled levels. The club has a variety of amenities found in both gyms and social clubs all in one place with some of finest gym equipment on the market, boutique studio classes including reformer Pilates and boot camp, a pool and hot tub, as well as an in-house spa, clubhouse/co-working space, and restaurant. Located at 960 North La Brea Avenue in Hollywood, Heimat is owned by RSG Group, which acquired Gold’s Gym in 2020. The company also owns nightclub-themed gym John Reed. However, these concepts couldn’t be more different.
Mother Tongue Restaurant
While Los Angeles has no shortage of large gyms, boutique fitness studios, and chic social clubs, Heimat reinvents what all of these things can and probably should be in the most luxurious way possible. Forget rubber floors and white tile locker rooms, excellence in interior design was paramount to the concept. The fitness spaces and the pool deck were designed by Berlin-based agency Inco Media, while the clubhouse and Michael Mina’s Mother Tongue restaurant were designed by famed architect Martin Brudzinski.
This locker room looks like a spa
There isn’t one design detail that hasn’t been thoroughly thought out, deliberated over and selected. From the herringbone wood flooring to Bose speakers strategically embedded in every corner of the ceiling to art-deco sconces in the bathrooms and custom upholstery on the weight machines, every detail is jaw-dropping. All of these elements add up to an incredible experience that’s sure to spark copycats.
Although Heimat opened in June 2022, it was years in the making, Sebastian Schoepe, president and chief executive officer of RSG Group North America tells me. “Even though we started this project over four years ago, we had already begun noticing a shift in how people lived, and the pandemic only expedited a lot of what we saw. For instance, remote work allows people not to be tethered to their desks anymore. This was also true in the fitness space as home workouts became increasingly popular. As these paradigms moved, we saw an opportunity to reframe what a brick-and-mortar fitness concept could be. The idea was to get people to embrace the things they loved about home but add community and luxury that only a membership club could provide— a sense of belonging.”
There isn’t a a gym entrance that looks quite like Heimat’s
Schoepe and RSG Group founder and owner Rainer Schaller, along with other executives started visiting clubs worldwide from Europe to Asia to research luxury concepts and they realized nothing like Heimat existed. “A club that was not only rooted in fitness but also offers the ability to work, socialize, and indulge under one roof. We created Heimat to seamlessly weave these four pillars together and we’re already seeing members embrace this vision,” he says.
960 North La Brea Avenue was originally constructed as a Cadillac dealership in 1933. After serving in that capacity, it went through multiple iterations before becoming abandoned more than a decade ago.
The stairwell with art by Mr. Brainwash
In 2011, legendary street artist Mr.Brainwash used the building to exhibit his work, lining the staircase with graffiti art. Schoepe tells me the RSG decided to keep the stairwells as is because “[The art’s] presence within Heimat adds to the rich tapestry of design and art we have weaved throughout the space.”
When RSG Group took over the building, it needed a lot of work. However, there were incredible bones including thick concrete walls, an open floorplan, and a useable roof deck. One of the best features of the building is that most spaces are flooded with light and some even feature views of the Hollywood sign. With approximately 3000 glass planes, the windows were restored to their original condition and some were even enlarged to take advantage of the natural light.
The first three floors of the building are dedicated to fitness. “We start with a story for each room and then incorporate the design and equipment into the design experience. Therefore, design elements all speak the same language in a particular space and equipment is an important component to that,” says Schoepe.
Reformer Pilates studio
Although the flow is cohesive, each area is uniquely designed, incorporating new luxury along with the heritage of the building. “It would have been a shame to not showcase this historic building with some of its original look in areas where that made sense. What makes Heimat special is the collision of a raw, urban concrete look with modern, luxurious touches in a harmonious way. Therefore, some areas were intentionally left blank because we have impactful design moments adjacent to them. The eye gets overwhelmed easily, and it becomes too much to digest at once. The eye needs rest as it moves from one curated design moment to another so the blank spaces you see in certain rooms help us achieve that consistency and enhance the Heimat design experience.”
Free weight training space
One example of this is the free-weight space which has a towering column and curricular lights with custom metallic tiles.
RSG also is also an investor in premium fitness equipment manufacturer gym80, allowing them to easily customize any element of the equipment to make it a part of the design story. “Additionally, it allows us to even get as granular as laser cutting our signature design pattern into the shroud which is used to cover weight stacks on strength machines. That is why we put so much thought and effort into the design details and ‘functional necessities’ of a typical gym; everything impacts the perception of the design and experience,” explains the CEO.
The fourth and fifth floors have a style that Brudnizki calls “eclectic minimalism.”
Outdoor bar and dining area at Mother Tongue
While the two ideas seem antithetical, it truly works within the concept of the space as a whole. Mother Tongue restaurant, which is open to the public (there’s a separate elevator and entrance) features functional cuisine with anti-inflammation, keto, and plant-based dishes. There is also a roof deck dining adjacent to the pool and hot tub.
The fifth floor is the clubhouse/co-working space floor. With booths, communal and individual tables, the sun-flooded space is the epitome of Hollywood glamour with bright yet sophisticated furnishings that provide a stylish yet comfortable place to be productive.
A private library space on the co-working floor
It’s easy to stay there for hours and occasionally duck into the library space for a quick call. After all, once you enter Heimat and embrace the lifestyle, leaving can feel like an even bigger challenge than even the most intense boot camp class.