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