You might think of the gym as a modern invention, with its metal equipment both shiny and matte, hi-tech performance fabrics and electronic machines whirring away—but you’d only be half right. Indeed, the modern gym has its roots on the beaches of Southern California, where GIs returning from World War II congregated for group exercise en plein air. Through sun-kissed fitness sessions, they sought camaraderie, sex appeal and an escape from the humdrum existences of their parents and grandparents, says Eric Chaline, author of The Temple of Perfection: A History of the Gym, on the phone from his home in London. This story is from Kinfolk Issue Thirty-six Buy Now Related Stories Interiors Issue 46 Cult Rooms Alberto Rosselli’s Mobile House presaged “vanlife” half a century ago. Interiors Issue 48 Gil Schafer Inside the all-American family home. Design Interiors Issue 48 At Work With: Studio Utte A visit to the small, sophisticated Milanese studio of Patrizio Gola & Guglielmo Giagnotti. Interiors Issue 48 My Favorite Thing Architect and spatial designer Cliff Tan tells the story behind his favorite golden cat. Interiors Issue 48 Last Night What did interior designer Beata Heuman do with her evening? Interiors Issue 47 Home Tour: Vill’Alcina For nearly 50 years, architect Sergio Fernandez has found political purpose and refuge at his vacation home.