Over the past decade, high design has permeated almost every conceivable lifestyle category, including physical fitness. With very few exceptions, however, high-profile architects and designers have tended to confine themselves to creating brick-and-mortar gyms, such as the open-air gymnasium that Herzog & de Meuron designed for the Brazilian city of Natal in 2014 or the “holistic well-being centre” completed more recently by David Chipperfield Architects in London’s Hotel Café Royal.
What has made the renowned architect and furniture designer Antonio Citterio’s foray into fitness different is the application of his talents not to gym settings but to gym equipment. Personal Bike, the newest addition to his line for Italian manufacturer Technogym, is an impossibly sleek stationary bike that the company promotes as both a design object and a piece of cutting-edge training equipment. It lends even more muscle to his status as design king of the fitness category.
“Design meets tomorrow’s technology to ensure wellness, wherever and whenever,” Technogym says of the pieces in its Personal Line, to which Milan-based Citterio has already contributed a kinesis system, a bench pressing frame, an elliptical machine and a treadmill.
Personal Bike, which launches in September, is in keeping with its predecessors, combining durability and artistry to an unusual degree. Its elegantly sharp-angled body, accented with micro-polished steel components, distinguishes it from standard stationary bikes. Among its selling points, as Technogym points out, is the ability of the bike, which was designed for both home and commercial use, to integrate “perfectly within any interior style.”
But if Personal Bike’s good looks suggest a lack of fitness cred, its technical bonafides are no less impressive. Among its built-in features are the most innovative training programs available today. Personal Line’s running, reclining and cross personal machines, moreover, are equipped with the latest swipe-screen interface, called UNITY.
This seamless combination of substance and style is to be expected from Citterio, whose cross-disciplinary work is admired as much for its complexity as for its visual flair.
As suited as the designer may be to it, however, the growing fitness category is almost certain to attract other big names in time, raising all kinds of tantalizing prospects. Imagine, for instance, what a rowing machine by Frank Gehry or a barbell set by Bjarke Ingels might turn out to look like.
Boasting a sculptural frame and micro-polished steel accents, Personal Bike is the Milan-based architect’s latest product for Italy’s Technogym.