Architect Ari Leinonen’s design for a floating sauna has captured the mystical quality of the traditional Finnish sauna in an innovative floating form—a floating structure of timber that blends the modern with the traditional. The design has recently been nominated for the Swedish timber-building prize 2006.
The sauna design has been publicized internationally and now the first prototype is on show at Biskopsudden marina close to the centre of Stockholm. Born with a natural empathy for the Finnish sauna experience, where every sauna is considered a pleasure, architect Ari Leinonen has realized a lifelong quest and in so doing has answered the question: Where do I site my dream sauna? The answer: As close to water as possible is the ideal, so that it’s just to short step from the sauna for that all important cooling dip.
“I looked for a sauna design solution at my parents summerhouse in the Archipelago outside Stockholm, and then I realized that this solution was a potentially exciting idea for others” says Ari Leinonen. The sauna is built on a floating pontoon, which can easily be towed to any proposed site
with access to water. The sauna building is made of solid timber formed using laminated wood technology. The timber is stained black externally with natural untreated timber internally. The external color helps accentuate the sauna’s mystical qualities.
The sauna is manufactured in three sizes: small (five person), medium (ten person), and large (fifteen person). The plan allows for separate changing, washing and sauna rooms. The sloping rear wall to the sauna room provides an extremely comfortable sitting position, while the generous volume allows the heat to be soft and relaxing. The thoughtfully designed window allows natural light into the sauna while enabling relaxing, tranquil views of the surrounding water and dappled reflections. The external form offers natural protection from the breeze after enjoying a cooling post sauna dip.
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