Cutting-edge contemporary design, innovative eco features and exceptional levels of comfort—the houseboat has been reinvented for the 21st century.
Much more than simply floating homes, these pioneering new models are on the water combining aesthetic appeal with high technology to meet the demands of modern lifestyle and leisure.
Based in Portugal, nautical innovation company Friday has launched its striking Floatwing for those seeking an alternative to traditional on-board living. CEO Professor Fernando Seabra Santos explained: “It came from a desire to meet a growing need in people to move away from the day-to-day life of big cities and their willingness to engage in leisure activities, enjoy the weekend spirit and approach nature without giving up comfort.”
The result was an electric motorized houseboat—6 m wide and 10 m to 18 m long—providing modularity, comfort, eco-consciousness, transportability, mobility and autonomy.
“Although separately these concepts are not new, taken together they result in a very innovative product: a floating house that produces up to 80% of all the energy it requires and reduces by 90% the organic load of its waste water.”
Across the Globe
Floatwing has a compact sludge wastewater treatment plant, equipped kitchen, heat pump and AC generator, barbecue, wine cellar and pellet stove. It has two small outboard motors and moves at a speed of five knots; when fully charged, it is self-sufficient for at least seven days.
Although manufactured in Portugal, its modular design means its components can be stored in two standard containers and shipped across the world. “So far, we have completed six Floatwings—one in Portugal and the rest in Zanzibar (Tanzania), Beijing (China) and central France,” he said.
“Each project is very different as the product is very customized. Costs depend on specific equipment and dimensions, but prices start at about €70,000 and can go up to €260,000 (plus about 20% for assembly).”
Based in Grosbliederstroff, France, newly launched Boathome has also rethought the concept of the houseboat. CEO Sarah Zins explained that her father, Guy Zins, a mechanical engineer with expertise in steel, and architect Tristan Fuhs put their prototype on the water 12 months ago.
“Our goal was to find the perfect marriage between the freedom offered by a boat and the comfort offered by a house while proving it could also look beautiful and be sustainable and autonomous,” she said.
Technology and Comfort
Boathome’s electric boats can be inhabited all year round; they are made from recyclable materials and include features such as solar panels as well as marine heating and air conditioning systems functioning with water, pellet stoves and high-density insulation.
There are also energy-saving household appliances and water purification and sewage treatment systems that leave waterways clean. Batteries can be recharged by solar panels, as well as on-shore power outlets, but the boats have an electrical 18 kW generator as a backup.
“The boats are 100% autonomous with energy and water,” she said. “Technology and comfort are important, but so are aesthetics. What makes us different from other manufacturers is the contemporary look, with lots of space, high ceilings and natural light.”
“Our architect pays attention to every single detail to make the boats look beautiful, on the outside and on the inside.”
Floating New Ideas
Boathome offers four different models: from 44 sq m to 71 sq m for the motorized version, and up to 135 sq m for floating houses without motors. Costs range from about €180,000 up to about €400,000 (including 20% TVA tax), depending on the specification of the finish.
Boathome is working on several projects with potential clients, including floating houses in France and Germany; a floating co-working space in Nantes and a floating restaurant in Dubai.
“Boathome is a big project and each big project takes time—but I think we are on the right track and that we will sign our first orders within the coming months,” Ms. Zins said. “If we can help people to realize their dream to live on the water then that is all we ask for.”
Read more about Houseboats on NauticExpo website.