From juice bars to spas, modern gyms are all about the luxurious amenities. And then there’s CrossFit, where you’ll find a new wave of old-school gym rats flipping massive tires, not riding ellipticals or perfecting their bridge pose. And their gym aesthetic fits that no-pain-no-gain mentality. As one friend put it, “your averageCrossFit gym is essentially a garage.”

That’s why illustrator Ale Giorgini has heads turning in CrossFit Castelfranco, the first CrossFit to find a home in the province of Treviso in Northern Italy.

“‘That’s an unlikely place for an illustration’ was my very first thought,” Giorgini remembers. Indeed, the exterior of the building resembles a giant rectangle, à la an abandoned shipping container in an empty lot. The interior is similarly sparse, with ropes, weights, and rowing machines in a single massive room. It was up to Giorgini to liven the space up with his signature style of clean yet playful illustrations.

“The art direction was building something that was never seen before. They gave me a pretty cool brief and just left me free to design what I was inspired to—every illustrator’s dream,” Giorgini says.

The gym was already committed to a black-and-white color scheme for its walls and furnishings. From there, Giorgini started his research, taking reference from the ethos behind CrossFit and its gym owners. He came up with a story that felt both ophisticated and whimsical: two lovers watching each other while training on rings and fancy, mustachioed men enjoying a fine day of weight training. The lazy dog hiding behind the front desk was inspired by the illustrator’s own pet, who was hugging onto its barbell-shaped chew toy as Giorgini created the illustrations.

It’s refreshing to see how the big illustrations in the reception area set the tone for the gym, which skews more urbane than urban. Clearly, it’s okay to skip the cucumber-infused water, because apparently grit and grime can be chic.

All photos by Giulio Favotto/Otium, courtesy of Ale Giorgini.