Carlo Ratti Associati – in partnership with Technogym, Terreform ONE and URBEM – presents the Paris Navigating Gym: a fitness vessel that moves along the Seine River by harnessing energy from passengers’ workouts.

The Paris Navigating Gym is a 20-meter long fitness vessel that can host up to 45 people. The fitness area features Technogym’s ARTIS machines – a special type of sports equipment that harnesses human energy and makes it available to further uses.

By doing exercise on the ARTIS bikes and cross trainers, guests can seamlessly contribute to powering the boat. Human powered energy will be supplemented by renewables, such as photovoltaic cells on the gym roof. Activated by electric propellers, the Paris Navigating Gym will sail along the Seine on its route through the city, providing access to anybody who wants it.

“The Paris Navigating Gym investigates the potential of harnessing human power”, says Carlo Ratti, director of the MIT Senseable City Lab in Boston and a founding partner of Carlo Ratti Associati: “It’s fascinating to see how the energy generated by a workout at the gym can actually help to propel a boat. It provides one with a tangible experience of what lies behind the often abstract notion of ‘electric power’.”

Interior shot of what working out in Paris on the Gym Boat might look like... this would definitely be a bonus in favour of fitness and a healthier lifestyle. [Source: CRA]

The Navigating Gym will allow Parisians to inhabit the river all year long. The augmented-reality screens installed on the boat will show guests both the quantity of energy sourced from the workout, and data about the Seine’s environmental conditions, tracked in real time by sensors incorporated on the vessel. Encased within a transparent glass covering, open in the summer, the gym allows an extraordinary view of the urban panorama. And at night, the boat can even be used for parties and celebrations.

A preliminary concept for a ‘River Gym’ was initially developed by Terreform ONE in 2008, for use in New York City. The Paris Navigating Gym represents an ideal evolution of that proposal, whose feasibility is ensured by further analysis made by URBEM (business strategy) and UR Lab (urban strategy).

“Technogym has been at the vanguard of the sustainability culture in the fitness world for several years. With this project, our ARTIS fitness machines will make an exciting contribution to urban life”, says Orlando Ferrario, Managing Director at Technogym France.

“The Paris Navigating Gym brings our idea of the ‘River Gym’ to the next level, turning it into a doable project whose potential can have a positive impact both in term of quality of life and public enjoyment of our cities”, says Mitchell Joachim, co-founder of the New York-based non-profit group Terreform ONE.

International design and innovation office Carlo Ratti Associati, working with the leading fitness equipment manufacturer Technogym, the non-profit architecture group Terreform ONE and the urban regeneration institute URBEM, has unveiled the Paris Navigating Gym project, a human-powered gym boat that cruises along the Seine River by using energy sourced from passengers’ workouts. The project was developed in response to a public call organised in the French capital.

The vessel’s current design pays tribute to the symbolic Bateaux Mouches, the traditional ferry-boats that have been carrying tourists on the Seine since the early 20th century – as well as to the French capital’s urban character. “From Walter Benjamin to the Situationists artists, strolling has always been a quintessentially Parisian way to express the excitement of urban life”, adds Ratti: “What if tomorrow we can start to stroll on the river itself?”

Paris is already considered one of the most forward-looking cities in the fitness and wellness field – a condition that the project has the potential to reinforce. According to initial studies, the Paris Navigating Gym can be implemented in less than 18 months, including design, construction, and testing, before starting its cruise to celebrate human power.

Sunset render of the Gym Boat. [Source: CRA]

About Carlo Ratti Associati (CRA):

Carlo Ratti Associati is a design and innovation office based in Turin, Italy, with branches in Boston and London. Drawing on Carlo Ratti’s research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the office is currently involved in many projects across the globe. Embracing every scale of intervention – from city master plans to furniture design – the work of the practice focuses on innovation in our built environment and daily lives. Noteworthy achievements at the urban and architectural scale include the masterplan for a creative-hub in the City of Guadalajara, the Future Food District at Expo Milano 2015, and the Digital Water Pavilion at Expo Zaragoza – named Best Inventions of the Year by Time Magazine. Product design projects range from experimental furniture for Cassina to light installations for Artemide to responsive seating systems with Vitra. Since 2014, Carlo Ratti Associati has been involved in the launch of two startups: Superpedestrian, producer of the Copenhagen Wheel, and Makr Shakr, developer of the world’s first robotic bar system.

About Technogym:

Founded in 1983, Technogym S.p.A. is a world-leading international supplier of products, services and solutions in the fields of fitness and wellness. With over 2,000 employees and 14 branches in Europe, the United States, Asia, Middle East, Australia and South America, the company exports 90% of its production to over 100 countries. Technogym S.p.A. was the official supplier for the last five Olympic Games: Sydney 2000, Athens 2004, Turin 2006, Beijing 2008, London 2012 and it has been appointed as Official Supplier for Rio 2016. In 2015, Technogym S.p.A. had turnover of approximately €512 million (+10% compared to 2014) and EBITDA of €86.7 million (+40% compared to 2014).

About Terreform ONE:

Terreform ONE [Open Network Ecology] is a non-profit architecture group that promotes smart design in cities. Through our creative projects and outreach efforts, we aim to illuminate the environmental possibilities of New York City and inspire solutions in areas like it around the world. We are a unique laboratory of specialists with diverse disciplinary backgrounds that explore and advance the larger framework of socio-ecological design. The group develops innovative concepts and technologies for local sustainability in energy, transportation, infrastructure, buildings, waste treatment, food, and water. These novel research projects are derived from the interface of design, engineering, and synthetic biology.

About URBEM:

URBEM, the Institute of Urbanism and Studies for the Metropolis, is a “do-tank”, a center of action, that aims to conceive and implement large-scale urban development projects in the city of São Paulo and other global cities. URBEM’s focus is to structure projects that create a better urban fabric, in undertakings that allow for the generation of both economic and social value. URBEM was created as a third sector organization with the objective of finding a common ground between government, private sector, and civil society.