Inachus is the brainchild of Sanitov Studios, recently launched at London's Design Week. It forms part of Urdaimonia, their Future Cities project, exploring the prospects for good urban living. The name coalesces the meaning of the Greek words eudaimonia (good life) with urban. Inachus is the name of the Greek river god.
Drawing on emerging technologies and holistic design, Inachus is the result of a transdisciplinary think-tank approach, embracing areas such cultural studies, biology and philosophy. Their findings were clear: Water is our friend and our foe and reintegrating waterways into the fabric of cities is central in a world with rising sea levels and growing populations.
The first thing that meets the eye on entering the Inachus prototype, is a lush, green living wall, stretching the length of the staircase, culminating in a skylight. This centerpiece not only interconnects all three levels of the home, it also provides both oxygen and a visual representation of the ideology behind the project, effectively bringing the outside inside.
In keeping with distinctive Danish design, Inachus is sleek and elegant with adeptly finished details. This, combined with the craft of expert British boat builders and smart technology controllable through your phone or a tablet, creates a truly intelligent home with a languid, luxurious and liveable feel. It is also one of only 40 homes in London to achieve an Energy Level 5 status, making it one of the most sustainable on the market. Excellent insulation, solar power and heat recovery made this possible. The hull is made of concrete with tiny airpockets, allowing it to float and is extremely low maintenance – as opposed to the hull of a boat that requires significantly more attention.
The living space is flexible to suit occasions and moods, with sliding doors taking the place of fixed walls. Chill out zones are strategically placed throughout and the ‘Think-box’ room provides an oasis away from constant connectivity with the world, perhaps for some contemplation time or a spot of yoga. And let's not forget the roof terrace – bliss on a sunny day.
The first four homes produced by Sanitov will include a 60-year mooring at Wandsworth. With a pricetag of a cool £2m at the highest spec, this type of home is still out of reach of most, but hopefully over time floating homes will become more affordable. Alexander Hamilton Høst of Sanitov said: ‘At the moment we customise design and build our floating home with high-spec luxuries and unique sustainable detailing. This of course tends to push prices up.’ He continued: ‘There are however several companies in the market and we are now making alternatives ourselves.’
There are a couple of key challenges to the more widespread use of floating homes. One is a distinct lack of residential moorings. Alex said: ‘It’s a case of convincing politicians to give permission for the conversion of existing moorings for residential use.’ Another great barrier is to get banks to offer mortgages for this type of home.
Sanitov’s vision is to create floating communities, able to connect with each other in infinite ways. Riverbanks, for example, could in effect be linked through homes and pontoon bridges, allowing for entirely new ways of social interaction. Sanitov’s aim is to eventually have individual communities comprising of up to 200 vessels.