Carlo Ratti Associati has today unveiled Paris Navigating Gym, a fitness vessel that moves along the Seine River by harnessing energy from passengers' workouts. The project was developed in partnership with Technogym, Terreform ONE and URBEM.
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 typology 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, which in turn 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," commented 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'."
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.
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," Ratti added. "What if tomorrow we can start to stroll on the river itself?"