Design to enhance the experience and appeal of innovative fitness equipment technology
DRAX is South Korea’s leading sports equipment manufacturer. Just ahead of the Covid pandemic, they initiated a project with tangerine’s Seoul studio to develop a new design language that would reintroduce DRAX fitness equipment to the fitness market. Like many innovative Korean manufacturers, DRAX had dozens of patents and a range of world-first technologies, such as treadmills engineered with auto speed control technology, but needed support in utilising design to improve its products’ relevance and appeal in a fast-changing consumer market. Together with DRAX, tangerine collaboratively developed a new design language for their top-of-the-range machines that could effectively showcase their innovative features in fitness technology and deliver the ultimate user experience.
- Product & Service Innovation
- Design Strategy
- Product & Industrial Design
- UX & UI Design
During our insight research, we discovered that gym owners at the time generally believed that people had to visit their gyms to achieve high-intensity workouts. However, due to the digitalisation of fitness and the growth of home subscription services, their customers were moving away from this model, increasingly changing their habits for exercise. New brands with roots in VR and gaming were delivering immersive workouts, transforming people’s perception of fitness tech from being inconvenient and lacking accuracy to being ‘smart’.
Our insights revealed, even before the Covid-19 pandemic, that fitness was no longer being perceived in terms of workouts but rather as a lifestyle with no boundaries. Consumers and fitness providers yearned for fitness equipment that better supported their lifestyle, blended seamlessly with their surroundings, and enhanced the experience of exercise.
DRAX first asked tangerine to develop the design language of its MyMountainTM incline trainer. The key innovative technological benefit of MyMountainTM is the -5% – 50% incline that is engineered to accurately simulate outdoor hiking and climbing. A problem for DRAX was that their equipment lacked brand competitiveness against products from the US and Europe which were more in tune with consumer trends. The challenge for tangerine was to create a machine design that gym owners were excited to install, and athletes were inspired to use.
We identified “mirroring results in nature” as DRAX’s distinctive brand strength. No other company in the market was engineering equipment that mimicked the results of outdoor training indoors. This concept would go on to inspire the company’s new design language for all its’ sports equipment.
The goal for MyMountainTM was to create natural, yet enjoyable workouts and attract younger audiences. To achieve this, we strived to reflect enjoyment through the intensity of fitness activity and set MyMountainTM apart from other incline trainers that mimic the 90-degree frame of treadmills. DRAX’s innovative incline was highlighted on the user interface display with a 45-degree tilt so that athletes were instantly able to understand that they and the machine were starting an incline.
No design feature was too small to contemplate. When the belt is moving up and down halo lighting around it gives a dynamic, live experience, bringing pulsing energy to the surrounding room. Even the ergonomically sculpted handlebar twists into the palm for added grip and comfort.
The graphic display has been totally redesigned onto a large screen that is equipped with a bespoke immersive 3D mountain created especially for the GUI. MyMountainTM brings the digital hiking experience to life through a responsive 3D view that matches the speed and incline of your chosen route. The interaction between the physical exertion on the machine and the absorbing 3D immersive world creates a first-of-its-kind 4D workout experience.