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 50 Cult Rooms A modernist with the Midas touch. Interiors Issue 46 Cult Rooms Alberto Rosselli’s Mobile House presaged “vanlife” half a century ago. Design Interiors Issue 51 Axel Vervoordt Inside the world of Axel Vervoordt. Interiors Issue 51 Casa Kohn The house that brought modernism to Ecuador. Arts & Culture Interiors Issue 50 Gabriel Escámez A sea of tranquil designs inspired by the Mediterranean coastline. Interiors Issue 50 Atelier Vime Inside the Provençal home that inspired a craft revival.