UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) is hot right now in China. Homegrown fighters such as Zhang Tiequan, Li Jingliang and women’s world strawweight champion, Zhang Weili, have inspired a surge of interest in the competition, as well as MMA more generally. 

UFC FIT Shanghai, reception hall

Case Study

Concurrent with this buzz, UFC GYM was founded in 2019 as the first major brand extension of the global  premier MMA organization UFC®. And last year was the opening of UFC FIT’s first flagship location in China, located in Lujiazui, Shanghai.

UFC FIT indoor design

UFC FIT has some of the highest standards, in terms of environmental quality, and the protection of athletes’ health, in the world. For their acoustic solutions in Shanghai, they enlisted ZENFEEL’s help.

Sound-absorbing wall panels printed with photos from UFC FIT

Professional gyms face a problem. Pro-athletes require a focused, often-quiet, controlled environment in which to train. Yet, gyms are inherently noisy. Resistance machines clang when their weights drop to rest, treadmills whir and amplify the sound of each step, ropes, kettle balls and plyometrics let out slaps, snaps and thuds. 

UFC FIT indoor scene

On top of this, there are people, grunting, panting, sometimes howling. In a gym that has bad acoustic design, these sounds can become overwhelming.

Detail of the printed sound-absorbing panels

Targets of the project

UFC FIT in Lujiazui makes a conscious effort to create the best environment it can for gym-goers, in line with the international RESET standards. This means keeping safe, filtered air, using energy efficiently to provide a steady, comfortable temperature, using sustainable materials with low-to-no chemical emissions, and providing clean drinking water. Partnering with ZENFEEL, they made sure to find acoustic solutions using materials that fit these high standards.

UFC FIT indoor scene

What ZENFEEL has implemented

ZENFEEL installed three key products. First, Eco-Fiber Acoustic Panels, made from coconut husk and natural latex. The fibrous nature of the panels lends itself to absorbing sound incredibly effectively, while the husk and latex ensure durability. The panels are composed of 100% bio-based materials, making them 100% recyclable. They can even be biodegraded, if required.

Eco-Fiber Coconut Panel

Eco-Fiber sound-absorbing Panel

Second, the Polyester Acoustic Panels. The Polyester Acoustic Panels were layered in front of the Eco-Fiber Acoustic Panels, the combination of the two creating a well-balanced sound absorption. And the Polyester Acoustic Panels were printed with UFC FIT’s key imaging and photos, creating large scale artworks across the gym. They can be made from up to 75% recyclable content, and are 100% recyclable. Like the Eco-Fiber Acoustic Panels, they give off no harmful emissions.

Polyester sound-absorbing panels printed with photos and slogans, all along the corridor

Third, ZENFEEL’s ceiling flocking. This involved covering ceiling slabs with a flocking spray, lining it with micro-fibers that effectively absorb sound instead of bouncing it back down into the room. The sprayed-on fibers were then painted to match the design of the gym, making them seamlessly blend into the environment.

Ceiling flocking

Conclusion : after acoustic treatment

The overall result was a fitness space that is acoustically comfortable, pushing it towards UFC’s stated goal of creating the world’s highest-ranking gyms. 

RESET is a set of standards and assessment tools & services to develop actionable, long term strategies towards health and sustainability for the built environment. RESET Standard is the world’s first sensor-based and performance-driven data standard and certification program for the built environment. 

RESET logo

By using recyclable materials that are tested for emissions, ZENFEEL products ensured that the RESET ‘air’ and ‘materials’ standards could be met.In so doing, they ensured, and continue to ensure today, the comfort and health of professional gym-goers, in an environmentally-friendly way.

UFC FIT indoor scene

ZENFEEL All-In-One Solution for Interior Installation

ZENFEEL is happy to provide consultation on any type of internal space, be it a gym, an office, a live music venue, or otherwise. We can conduct acoustic studies of a space, to map out clearly how sound travels and the effects it has, and then create tailored solutions using our unique line of sustainable products.


We offer a complete service, from design to installation, that is adaptable to different environments and aesthetics. For more information about creating acoustically comfortable work environments, or to see more samples of our work, reach out to ZENFEEL today.