BY: ROB HOFFMAN
Looking out at the smooth desert hills of Portugal’s Amieira Marina, inhabitants of the FloatWing drift slowly to the centre of the narrow basin, away from the scorched landscape, away from society, and slowly finding refuge far from the harbour, equipped to last up to a year off the grid.
The FloatWing, a self-sustaining home, resides in the long stretch of water that can be traced from south-eastern Portugal and extends more than 100 kilometres north, into Spain. However, it is designed to be easily stored and shipped to nearly anywhere in the world, thanks to its compact nature. For now, it remains nestled into the Amieira Marina, designed as a getaway for off-grid enthusiasts, romantic isolation or a place for quiet contemplation.
The small home is the brainchild of a Portuguese design and engineering company, called Friday. One of their most innovative designs, FloatWing, allows one to become entirely self-sufficient for either a brief stay of seven days, or a more long term residency of six months to a year without needing to re-fuel or perform maintenance, according to the company’s data sheet.
The structure has a fixed width of six-metres, but the length can be stretched from 10 to 18 metres, depending on preference. In fact, there are four separate designs of the Floatwing, the most extensive containing three bedrooms and two bathrooms. The most stripped back version has no bedrooms.
The watercraft is motorized and can travel at 3 knots (about 3 mph), allowing the residents to slowly explore the surrounding waters and exchange coastal views for those of the open water. It supports a lifestyle of eco-conscious living, and was thus constructed with materials that pose no environmental harm, as is reported by Inhabitat. All in all, the FloatWing has a very low carbon footprint.
The watercraft is also chargeable, and covers 80% of its energy through renewable sources that make it easy to self-sustain. With “5 m² of solar panels and 23 m² of photovoltaic panels,” solar power is the main driver of energy.
As far as washrooms go, the FloatWing uses a waste water treatment plant. On the more glamorous side of amenities, it also contains a kitchen, wine cellar, air conditioning and a barbecue on the roof.
To keep warm, it comes equipped with a wood burning stove that also serves as a place to cook.
The design perhaps represents the beginning of a new era of ecological living, which takes advantage of wide open bodies of water. So long as they are built and maintained with a sense of environmental integrity, these types of homes offer a whole new way to go off-grid and find peace.