1. Sphere
    Photograph: Sphere
  2. Sphere
    Photograph: Sphere
  3. Sphere
    Photograph: Sphere
  4. Sphere
    Photograph: Sphere
  5. Sphere
    Photograph: Sphere
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Simran Panaech

Time Out says

If you’re looking for a sanctuary in the CBD where you can incorporate all of your senses into a wellness programme, Sphere may be the place for you. 

Sphere is a performance and recovery facility that offers private infrared saunas, cold plunge and sensory deprivation pools as well as personal training and small group, yet individualised, fitness sessions. The three Singaporean founders – Bowen You, Gordon Poon, both 28, and Allan Ng, 30 – believe by creating a multi-sensory experience, it greatly benefits mental and physical wellness for all.

Speaking to Bowen at Sphere in Cecil Street, he told us their workout programmes are inclusive to everyone. Bowen explains, “movement in general drives all aspects of your life. It can increase your longevity, career performance, make or help you build interpersonal relationships… It all stems from our initial goal here, which is to create multi-sensory experiences for everyone integrating smell, sound, aesthetics, movement, all of the above. We want it to be one whole core product.”

This intention is immediately shown here. Walk into Sphere and you are greeted with textured walls that Bowen describes as “cashmere on concrete.” Being a big fan of Martin Margiela and coming from a background of fashion design, Bowen shares that the “all white gym is something clinical, something minimalist, but also very striking in design.”

As we tour the facility, Bowen points out, “Give people the sensation like they don’t know where they are. They could be in a gallery. It could be a retail space.” This was highlighted when Sphere was used as an art gallery recently and for their grand opening last November, the Therapy Room set up decks on their reception table and turned the space into a dance party. 

“Give people the sensation like they don’t know where they are. They could be in a gallery. It could be a retail space.” 

Enhancing the experience are Aesop amenities and Dyson hair dryers available for use in the changing rooms, Devialet speakers and art on display. These include a sculpture, by Korean artist Gunwoo Shin, of a black human figure emerging from the blue (a colour they use to separate areas) by the stairwell and as you walk up, a steel sculpture by Indonesian artist Didin Jirot. Even the changing rooms are decked with paintings by Hajime Sorayama, a Japanese illustrator and an oil canvas piece by labadiou Piko, another Indonesian artist. And the art is available for purchase.

Photograph: SphereArt on display at Sphere

This vision of a unique concept stems from when Bowen lived overseas for six years in the USA and UK. There, he experimented with infrared saunas for personal use. They were popular in 2016 in London and Los Angeles. “Infrared sauna became cold plunge, cold plunge became cryotherapy. Cryotherapy became floating. It just goes on and on,” says Bowen. When he returned home during pandemic times, he saw a gap in the Singapore market and a potential for scale within Southeast Asia. 

“I think what a lot of people don't realise is the mental benefits that come along with cold plunge, it can transcend athletic performance. With your career, your daily life, with your inner wellness as well. It's a process of education because something like this is quite new to Singapore. It runs contrary to traditional Asian beliefs, mixing hot and cold is bad, right,” shares Bowen.

The private infrared sauna and cold plunge rooms with a shower suite give a space for clients to get in touch with themselves as well as focus on wellness. One 60-minute session of infrared sauna alone can burn up to 700 calories, which is one and half burgers, as Bowen points out. 

“You have this entire room to yourself for an hour and you're meant to alternate between the hot and the cold. So, our recommendation for first timers is to do 10 to 15 minutes in the heat. Come out, take a quick rinse, do a cold plunge for 30 seconds or three minutes, and then repeat it two or three times. We just wanted to add a touch of hospitality to this space with the lighting, the towels, everything,” says Bowen.

"You have this entire room to yourself for an hour and you're meant to alternate between the hot and the cold."

And you don’t have to do a workout before using the private room. In the heat, your blood rate is elevated which improves blood flow and you lose all those calories. Bowen says they did a test by using an Apple watch. And the time will pass as there are in-built Bluetooth speakers for you to play your own music or whatever you like or you could even read a book.

For those into or curious about sensory deprivation pools, Sphere has a private room with a pool “built from scratch” filled with 600 kg of Epsom salts. Bowen says, “it improves sleep quality, skin health, and if you have any training-related soreness, the decompression, floating in a zero gravity environment, really helps you release those tensions.” They also offer private sound bath sessions. Bowen says they feel such sessions can get intense in emotions with people feeling vulnerable so private is more ideal than a communal setting. 

Sphere really means it when they say their programmes are for everyone. Their oldest client for personal training is 65 and for recovery, 75, while their youngest is around 18. And while their clientele for now is more skewed to the ladies (Bowen blames toxic masculinity for men not fully embracing wellness), Bowen hopes this will change with their second opening in Holland Village in November 2023. We're going to take the same lessons we learned to apply it to the new space. But that one is going to be slightly different in the sense that it's going to be inspired by Japanese tea ceremonies. So, a lot more use of wood, specifically, white wood and blue wood,” shares Bowen.


137 Cecil Street
Opening hours:
Mon-Fri 7am-8.30pm, Sat 9am-4pm, Sun 10am-4pm
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