Lucy Sanderson

MA work

The Feminist Gymnasium

Freud’s structural model of the psyche suggests behavioural conditioning is a social construct. I have set out to experiment with this theory, using design to challenge the accepted cultural, material and spatial language of exercise spaces and promote different attitudes, exploring specifically the impact of the male gaze on female behaviour. 

The Feminist Gymnasium is a sanctuary devoted to developing strength of mind as much, if not more, than the physical strength of the body. It will encourage visitors to engage intellectually in a programme of exercise that asks them to suspend their normal self-consciousness, nurturing bravery rather than perfection and rewarding the use of instinct and intuition.

By playing with the materiality of the devices, products and props women use to enhance or improve the way their bodies are perceived, I intend to replace a somewhat bizarre aesthetic of falsified fleshy colours with a more primitive materiality that is designed to reconnect users with their honest, instinctive physical and mental responses, supporting and celebrating the re-education of body and mind.

The Feminist Gymnasium is situated in the former Daily Mail Printworks in Canada Water. The building was purpose built to house six storey printers accessed from a central platform, the rhythm of operation was structured by time. Canada Water’s history of conflict and campaigning can still be felt, embedded within the gymnasium equipment. Its repurposing as FG will draw connections between past and present  testing strength, challenging the accepted norms of behaviour and thought and fighting against exploitation and oppression.


  • MA Degree


    School of Architecture


    MA Interior Design, 2016

  • Degrees

  • BA Hons Sociology & Communication, Goldsmiths College, 2008
  • Experience

  • Freelance set designer and art director, London, 2010–present