A sauna in the desert? At Burning Man you can.

30 August 2019

JKMM Architects and Finish have designed a sauna for the Burning Man who will rise in the middle of the Black Rock Desert in Nevada.

Helsinki based architecture firm JKMM Architects has joined forces with Finish Studio and are building a sauna in the middle of the Nevada desert for this year’s Burning Man. That then, let’s face it, the choice to build a sauna in a location with such a hot climate, sounds a bit ‘nonsense. The two companies, however, thought that the participants in the festival could draw on the rituals and detoxification typical of Finnish saunas. This is how a Steam of Life pavilion will be created.

The structure is made of dark wood staves in two different sizes and three lengths. Arranged in the shape of a ring around a shady outdoor courtyard to allow users to cool down, relax and recharge. To take account of the high number of visitors, the designers opted for a circular route around the building.

The entrance will have a dimly lit passage leading to the Turkish bath. The curved space will be characterized by wooden benches along the walls and a central brazier. After the experience, users will be encouraged to move and find the exit overlooking the courtyard, which is designed in place of a cold diving pool, typically used after the sauna.

The pavilion is very small. It can be easily transported in a container and wherever you want. Steam of Life is part of a series of temporary installations that will be made in the Black Rock Desert in Nevada for Burning Man. It will take place from 25 August to 2 September.

Text by Elisa Scotti


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