Relax & Decelerate
While it feels as if the world has started to turn upside down because of pandemic travel restrictions and the effects of global warming, conflicts and the energy crisis, the urgency of having a refuge that has a high level of self-sufficient energy, as well as the option to move around despite all the challenges, has surged around the world. Caravan sales spiked in recent years and although they provide a good enough solution, the question arises: Why not re-design a fully solar-powered motorboat with high-end tiny-home characteristics and create a slow-motion travelling nest?
These were the driving forces to kick off the project of this “Tesla on the Water,” and that’s why the owner, Marianne Friese, named it “Fàng Sōng 放松”, which translates from Chinese into “Relax”!
For Marianne, the desire to spend time on the water was triggered after spending over 20 years in cities with neither coast nor other significant bodies of water, her last stop before Berlin being Beijing. Purchasing this houseboat in 2020 was the culmination of a life journey.
The five-year-old boat caught Marianne’s eye, its exterior’s resemblance to a bus on the water and the potential for the interior design quickly sparked her interest. With enough space for up to two persons as well as guests, it had the potential to easily become a personal retreat for reenergizing and a cozy getaway to invite friends and family.
Background. Transient space.
Itinerant forms of architecture have an extended history through different cultures and times. Moving from place to place in search of food, water and other forms of sustenance, was originally performed out of necessity, and more recently, out of willingness. Nowadays the architectural agenda addresses mobility and domesticity as part of the design debate to challenge our notions of public-private and temporary-permanent. A home that was once linked to solitude, belonging and real estate ownership now shifts to a network of commodities that can be moved to different places.
As Archigram already put it in 1964 with The Walking City: “One of the great attractions of urban living is the notion of being able to access all the services and goods you need easily. But what if those services came to you?”
The dream for Marianne that started with signing up for rowing as a new sport led her to find new ways of living. Together with Crossboundaries, she redefined the concept of “house,” that would not only be as simple as a building made out of bricks. Firstly, perceived as a moored boat, the goal for the new owner was to spend time practicing locally to obtain the relevant driver’s license shortly after completion of the project and eventually being able to reach urban areas like Paris, stay at the banks of the Seine and continue the mobile lifestyle towards Southern France.
“Water is central to these kinds of desirable ecologies that can reshape cities, but also reshape users and designers by being more responsive towards environmental matters,” Hao Dong, co-founder and partner of Crossboundaries, says.