In February 2020, as the world came to grips with a pandemic, Tempo launched its first offering, the Tempo Studio: a state-of-the-art in-home weight training platform providing immersive real-time coaching from world-class trainers via innovative, room-scale 3D spatial mapping technology. As industrial design partners, level's vision honored the home with aesthetics which veered from the heavy, masculinity seen across the majority of fitness products.
Within a year of launch sales jumped 500%, with 1,300 users confirming the design was the key factor in purchase and continued brand engagement, and Tempo raising a $220 million Series B in April 2021.
So, when Tempo came to us to imagine their next set of products, it was the concept of "living in the home" which was brought forward.
Briefed with designing a Bench, Squat Rack, Weight Storage, Kettlebell, Weight Collars, and finally the Tempo Move, we focused on developing unifying elements across the offering: clean geometry, contoured silhouettes, a grounded stance, and consistent, complementary colors, materials and finishes. This foundation shaped the Tempo product family.
The Tempo product suite now consists of six key hardware products in addition to the original Tempo Studio, specifically:
1. The Bench: a professional grade workout bench with an adjustable backrest, that can withstand a 500 pound box squat, while folding away flat for easy storage. Minimal lines and intuitive touch points marry with innovative technical materials–waterproof and cleanable, the foam is compression molded as a single part with the material, negating seams and bringing a cushy surface at a fraction of the thickness of your typical pad–creating a piece beautiful enough to live on display in your home.
2. The Squat Rack: Collapsible to a form that can be stored as you might a pair of skis, the A-frame stance and minimal profile leans into an almost-symmetrical form. A button releases to adjust height and the J-hooks are custom designed for ultimate ergonomics and safe, reliable replacement of the barbell. Leveraging the same extrusion as the Bench legs drove down tooling costs while tying the design language into the system.
3. Weight Storage: Aimed at heavy lifters, this unit houses optional 25lb and 45lb weight plates. An uncomplicated box celebrates the Tempo curves, with contoured tray grooves placed just far enough apart for easy grabbing, so the heaviest of weights can easily roll up the slope into your hands and safely slip from your grasp back into place.
4. Kettlebell: Tested and refined to be easy on hands big and small, the soft, controlled profile of the handle is designed for comfort and sets a unique icon for the product. With the desire to minimize at-home clutter, the concept leverages the Tempo Weight and Weight Collar systems creating a customizable solution for users. The minimal, neutral aesthetics gives the stage to the weights, celebrating their colorful "pop".
5. Weight Collars: Off-the-shelf weight collars can be clumsy–difficult to manipulate with extra parts and levers that obstruct the simple yet necessary functionality. Removing all extras, we focused on a clean, circular form. By adjusting the mechanism, we developed an easy open-and-close action with a hinge that provides ample room to slide the collar on and off. Plastic comes as standard, with a metal upgrade available.
6. Tempo Move: An alternative to Tempo's original Studio, the Move leverages your iPhone to capture workouts, connecting directly to your own TV. Designed to live in the tightest of spaces, the unit houses up to 16 weight plates, 2 dumbbells, 4 weight collars and a heart rate monitor. By removing the screen the product size and price point is significantly reduced, meaning the Move fits into more people's lives all while diminishing its environmental footprint.
Our design process focused on staying true to a few core, unifying elements, evolving them appropriately across the multiple offerings. These key details include:
- Generous radii. Soft and approachable, the contoured forms carried across the products extricate Tempo's design architecture from the cold, austere equipment typically found in the gym.
- Angled profiles. Each of the larger pieces expresses a soft yet sturdy stance–an expression which marries with the original Tempo Studio. This posture provides a sense of balance and stability–an important visual communication given the inevitable safety concerns with having professional grade equipment in the home.
- Balance and repetition. Soft edges and clean, geometric shapes provide a minimal aesthetic. A repetition of pill shapes, circles and consistent radii unify the family, creating a holistic design language.
- Material and process. Humble sheet metal and extrusions carry across the product offering, with bending, welding and powder-coating techniques consistently leveraged to keep construction affordable while elevating finish.
- Considerate color. Originating as a functional element across the weights (facilitating camera recognition), use of "pop" colors became a cornerstone of the design process. By indicating active touchpoints it highlights, for example: where there is a button that moves for adjusting; a latch to pull for opening; a weight plate that is interchangeable; or a stripe detail that enables computer vision to recognize bench angles.
- Not black and white. The light and dark skus live just off the black and white spectrum, setting the products apart in a sea of black tech fitness equipment. The lighter unit is an unusual palette for the category, but feels appropriate for the home environment and is the highest selling option. The dark palette is subtle, blending with charcoals and darker woods, providing a more furniture-eque choice.
Stewarding the design language of a family which spans a vast array of highly complex mechanical, functional, and regulated requirements is no small feat. Remaining respectful to the environment in which it lives and holding the user as the priority drove our choices.
In a short two years Tempo has become an absolute disruptor within the at-home fitness category, stealing significant market share while challenging the likes of Peloton, Tonal and Mirror as the consumers go-to choice.