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Blok London: Futuregym

The great thing about reporting for SEEN is that I get to go all over this fair city. I almost missed the entrance to the Tram Depot that Blok calls home, just a step away from Clapton Overground. You enter the old Tram Depot yard, and instantly you’re transported from the hustle and bustle of London.

The great thing about reporting for SEEN is that I get to go all over this fair city. I almost missed the entrance to the Tram Depot that Blok calls home, just a step away from Clapton Overground. You enter the old Tram Depot yard, and instantly you’re transported from the hustle and bustle of London.

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I walked into a calm, laid-back, and friendly environment, the very antithesis of traditional gyms, which can be bright, loud and tense places. The vaulted concrete ceilings, brick walls and cast iron pillars reflect an urban aesthetic that’s here to stay, heightened by the Blok logo and art.

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There are two studios; one for high-energy cardio exercise, and another studio for yoga and more contemplative activities. The décor is grey and uncluttered, the café is a communal table and the food and drinks are delightfully healthy. SEEN had a flat white (strong), bone broth (think Miso) and a very filling smoothie with raspberries, that was naturally sweet enough. Co-owner Reema has a serious interest in nutritious food that doesn’t lack for taste or texture. ‘Blokrooted’ promotes sustainably-sourced breakfast and protein pots, plus salads that looked delicious. She looked the very picture of health and was an excellent advertisement for the gym. It’s the details at Blok that impress; SEEN was pleased to note the many hairdryers in the Ladies’ changing room.

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Architecturally, the building is a huge tram warehouse (with tram lines still running through the floor) that has been divided into the two studios, café, changing rooms and living quarters for Reema and her family. There are 140 classes a week and while you can become a member, Reema was keen to emphasise that Blok isn’t there to be prescriptive to its clientele; it’s very much customer-led, relaxed and very sensibly lets its activities, food, drink and general vibe speak for themselves, with a refreshingly low-key attitude to marketing.

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There is a black, dog-shaped 2D sculpture ‘Sprint’ by artist Arran Gregory in the café that has the feel of a mascot, whilst evoking the idea of ‘raw, primal movement’ that takes place at Blok. A gym may seem a strange venue in which to see art, but as Gregory himself admitted, it seems to fit. Reema anticipates that the art will rotate from time to time but that ‘Sprint’ will stay.

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Drawing their clients from Clapton and East London on a very regular basis, Blok also welcomes gym enthusiasts from West London and has even had visitors from New York, keen to see the Blok brand for themselves. SEEN can attest to the friendliness of the staff and the relaxed atmosphere. Could this be the future of gyms in the 21st century? SEEN certainly hopes so.

https://www.bloklondon.com/

The Tram Depot
38-40 Upper Clapton Road
London
E4 8BQ