Since its launch, 1Rebel has broken the mould when it comes to what we think a gym should look like. Described as a ‘high intensity, dual studio fitness concept,’ 1Rebel venues all look more like your average superclub, than the typical drab gyms and are an immersive entertainment venue.

Now, after the success throughout London, 1Rebel has entered the Middle East market for the first time, with the launch of two clubs – one for male clients and one for female – in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. When it comes to its gym facilities, 1Rebel provides four different concepts for its members.

There is Reshape, which is the ultimate full-body workout, with quick-fire rounds of high-powered treadmill sessions and dynamic weight sequences, designed to challenge, inspire, burn fat and push members to a level they didn’t think was possible.

The second is Ride, a spin class to the backdrop of an incredible, club- like lighting and audio system, complete with trainer-curated playlists designed to help members ride to the beat and burn calories.

Next, there is Rumble – a hard-hitting boxing workout that offers 45 minutes of high-quality sound and energy as members work on their speed, footwork, strength and, most of all, willpower.

Finally, there is Reflex, which is custom-curated, one-to-one training, focussing on functional movements and body toning. This gives members the opportunity to push their body to the next level against a backdrop of heavy beats and stellar lighting.

Each of these concepts offers something completely different – and this had to be taken into consideration when it came to the technology throughout the venue, particularly as 1 Rebel relies heavily on providing an immersive experience

To help deliver the full 1Rebel experience, Middlesex Sound & Lighting (MSL) were enlisted to design, supply and install a full audio, visual and lighting system throughout the two new Saudi Arabia venues.

For the lighting systems at 1 Rebel’s London venues, MSL worked in conjunction with world-renowned lighting designer, Durham Marenghi. “It was only right to carry on with his vision with the new venues in Riyadh,” said Toby. “The brief was simple – stay consistent with the London venues and take it to the next level.”

Nathan Clute, Co-founder and CEO of Pulse Fitness Group / 1Rebel Middle East explained the audio brief: “When designing our clubs and the overall customer experience, delivering premium audio quality was a primary objective for us, as we believe audio is a core component of our offering. Our clubs require us to deliver multiple different experiences within a relatively tight operating envelope, and, as a result, we needed an audio solution that allowed us to operate independent zones, each operating at different volume levels with different music and audio genres.”

“Within our studios, we needed a solution that had the power to deliver intensity without distortion, with uniform coverage throughout the space, and with the ability to have clear vocals regardless of the underlying music volume. We find, more often than not, that operators try to overcome poor audio infrastructure with volume, which does nothing but distort the user experience.

For Ride, it’s a long auditorium with stepped platforms, so it had to have a time-aligned system, with club-style levels. We had to offer every rider the same experience wherever they were located within the space. “Reshape, with its weight workout and running machines needed good- quality distributed audio, Then, Rumble – higher output, intense, evenly- distributed audio was required. And, finally, the one-to-one training at Reflex needed distributed audio, too.”

Toby furthered: “Martin Audio was specified for all locations – this fell in line with most setups here in the UK. It offered a good, cost-effective solution with impressive audio quality.

Martin Audio’s Black LineX range was used for all studios, with the ADORN Series deployed for the customer walkways outside of the studio spaces. “Powersoft M Series amplifiers were deployed for all of the studios – they offer an amazing build quality and sonic performance. It was important to specify a reliable amplifier brand and Powersoft ticked all the boxes – we have been specifying these for years across multiple installations here in the UK.

Reliability was key when it came to the amplifiers and Powersoft’s range was the obvious choice, as they offer incredible output for the size and weight. For the customer areas, Cloud Electronics’ VTX4120 amplifiers were used. “For the processors, we used BSS BLU-100s and multiple BLU-BOB2S.

The open architecture offered our programmers maximum flexibility – we set these up on a live network and can remote connect from the UK to tweak and adjust where required. All audio mixing for mics and music for each studio is automatically mixed by the devices – instructors simply have two custom-made controls for mic and music levels. Each studio has one music input and two mic inputs. Multiple Trantec radio mic systems were supplied with headsets, too.”

Each lighting fixture was specified for its reliability and performance within a demanding environment. Once again, each system had to be different depending on the concepts, with MSL taking that into consideration when they supplied and installed the lighting at the two venues.

For the Ride studio, each class is unique in terms of the lighting show, which is all controlled from a single 22-inch ELO touch screen mounted in front of the instructor’s bike.

41 CHAUVET Professional COLORado 1 Solo wash lights were deployed in the studio, with one fixture used over two bike positions. The COLORado 1 Solos not only offer great colour and light output, but, once the zoom was used, it delivered a more dynamic effect.

Eight Clay Paky SharBar fixtures and 10 CHAUVET DJ Intimidator 260 moving heads are equally deployed down the room to offer moving light.

For the Reshape studio, 17 CHAUVET Professional COLORado 1 Solo and 10 CHAUVET Professional Rogue R1X Wash fixtures were deployed evenly across the trussing. “Each treadmill had an LED RGBW birdie to wash on the running platform,” added Toby. “There are three 10-inch ELO touch screens installed at the top, middle and bottom wall locations – this offered instructors instant access to control, via the ShowCAD server, as they walk up and down the space, and was achieved using a network IP adder link Xdip KVM units.

In the Rumble studio, 76 CHAUVET Professional ÉPIX Strip IP pixel strips were attached to the steel boxing structure. This system is all pixel mapped using MADRIX software and controlled, once again, via a ShowCAD PC server.

“Whilst the setup in Rumble sounds simple, the results were incredible – the whole structure flows with moving light, bringing a genuinely unique experience to a boxing studio,” said Toby.

The Reflex studio uses 10 CHAUVET Professional COLORdash Par Quad 18 fixture, all of which are evenly spaced on the ceiling, washing downwards to offer a full-room colour wash experience. They are also controlled using ShowCAD from a single touchscreen. The visual setup ties very much in line with the lighting – everything is controlled with an ArKaos MediaMaster server, via Artnet by ShowCAD.

In the Reflex studio, 36 CHAUVET DJ Vivid 4- 4.8mm pitch video panels and one NovaStar MCTRL4K controller were installed. CHAUVET DJ offered good reliability and the pixel pitch was perfect for this application. As the displays covered such a large area, the 4K NovaStar controller worked perfectly. Custom video was loaded into the ArKaos server which, in turn, was controlled by the ShowCAD touch screen at the instructor location.

In the Ride studio, Milos trio black powder coated trusses – 11-metres x six-metres – were flown down the length of the room, which is seven- metres wide and 27-metres long. The ride positions gradually step up from the front to the back, too.

For the Reshape studio, two 15-metre Milos trio black trusses were used down the length of the room.

In the Ride studio, a Kvant Burst Berry laser firing down the whole room was installed, with two Look Solutions Unique 2.1 haze machines to offer even more edge.

The Rumble studio was also equipped with a Unique 2.1 haze machine to enhance the atmosphere.

The instructor in the Ride studio sits on top of a scissor lift, literally elevating the atmosphere throughout the workout.

All servers at the Riyadh venues were added to a network, which allows real-time remote access via team viewer for MSL in the UK – and this is something that has proved to be invaluable.

“Due to the current COVID-19 crisis, on-site programming was suddenly not possible, so we had to come up with another solution. All of the lighting systems were programmed using WYSIWYG. Each room was modelled and programmed in the UK, then remotely uploaded and tested using a local team, AK Events, on site. It was just an incredible solution and it worked perfectly,” added Toby.

“Only minor tweaks were required once we managed to get a commissioning engineer on site when restrictions were lifted. It was extremely challenging and stressful at the time, but we pulled it off!”

With both 1Rebel venues including different elements depending on the studios and areas, it was always going to be a challenging project, though the COVID-19 pandemic certainly made it much more complex, as Toby explained further: “The initial design started in November 2019 – and the plan was to be installing in May 2020. By early March 2020, all kit was being airfreighted to Saudi Arabia, with a view for our engineers to lead the installation. COVID-19 then put a stop to this with the whole world being shut down.

We were always going to play a commissioning part in the whole process, but this just simply added a huge problem. “Initially, AutoCAD drawings were supplied by us for the local team to follow – they could simply install kit to positions identified on drawings. However, the more complex commissioning such as rack audio and DMX patching was to be performed by our engineers once on site – they would know what was to go where, as all racks were built and wired internally here prior to shipping.

“I had no choice but to send complex connection drawings as the local team asked for them on demand. I had my apprehensions about others doing this work, but they successfully completed it. “In late December 2020, when restrictions lifted, we managed to fly a commissioning engineer to site who calibrated all audio and assisted with the live lighting programming using team viewer and a laptop running Zoom at the rear of each studio. It was just incredible that our programmer managed to complete such complex works without even stepping foot in the country. Just amazing!”

1Rebel Riyadh sets a new bar for gyms around the world. The two venues are designed to stimulate all the senses whilst exercising in a new concept type gym, where adrenaline was the alcohol, and the lighting and sound played major part in their vision, bringing a multi-level, night club style fitness to life.

1Rebel hasn’t gone “off the road” in creating this mega gym; instead, it’s blazed an entirely new path, one that is likely to reset standards in the fitness category, not just with its engaging lighting design, but also in terms of its COVID-19 safety protocols. (The lighting itself engenders a stronger sense of community in the gym despite the screens that sometimes separated its members.)