The Solar Egg, Björkliden, Sweden, by Bigert & Bergstrom for Riksbyggen
Bigert & Bergstrom designed the The Solar Egg sauna

Ten steamy saunas to sweat it out in colder climes

Floating saunas, an egg-shaped sauna and a sauna built like a concrete mine shaft are some of the 10 unique saunas to warm up in cold countries.


Gothenburg sauna by Raumlabor

Gothenburg Public Sauna, Sweden, by Raumlabor

Local residents worked with Berlin-based studio Raumlabor to build the Gothenburg Public Sauna. A wooden bridge projects out in to a harbour to link the sauna on stilts, which is clad in sheets of rusty corrugated metal.

It's lined with strips of larch inside, and features a shower with a screen made of recycled glass bottles.

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Dezeen top 10 sauna roundup

Floating Sauna, Sweden, by Small Architecture Workshop

Small Architecture Workshop avoided disturbing any nature on the banks around a lake in Åmot, Sweden, by building a sauna for tourists on a floating platform.

The sauna is clad in wood planks that have been charred – a kind of wood treatment that requires no toxic chemicals and helps the structure merge with the peat lake bottom. A large piece of glazing on one side allows the occupants to gaze out over the lake as they sit inside.

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Grotto, Canada, by Partisans

Perched on a craggy outcrop on the shore of Lake Huron, Grotto is a private sauna with a cavernous interior of curving cedar-clad benches, nooks and porthole windows.

Canadian studio Partisans undertook a 3D scan of the rocky site before designing Grotto, then collaborated with a local sawmill to CNC-cut the prefabricated parts that were taken over by boat and craned into position.

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Solar Egg by Bigert & Bergström

Solar Egg, Sweden, by Bigert & Bergström

Decades of iron ore mining in Kiruna destabilised the land under the town and now the whole settlement is being relocated. To help residents worried about the loss of community spirit in the move, artist duo Bigert & Bergström created this sculptural sauna.

Shaped like a geodesic egg, the sauna's exterior is covered with 69 pieces of gold-plated steel and its interior is lined with cedar. It's heated by a wood-burning stove surrounded by a cage of rocks shaped like a human heart.

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Denizen Sauna, Finland, by Denizen Works + Friends

Built on a sledge base, Denizen Sauna can be towed off its island in Finland and onto a frozen lake. Once out on the ice, a hole can be cut through the crust to make the perfect plunge pool to round off the full Scandinavian sauna experience.

Denizen Works and their friends built the sledging sauna from local timber and recycled windows.

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Dezeen top 10 saunas

The Bands, Norway, by Oslo School of Architecture and Design

Students from an architecture school in Oslo built The Bands as part of their graduate show. The seaside sauna steps down over the rocky coast, creating terraces for users to sit, soak in a sunken hot tub, or picnic on the built-in barbecues.

Angled roofs leaning in multiple directions add to the sauna's unusual profile and echoes the old buildings on the nearby quay.

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Sauna Huginn & Muginn, Italy, by Atelier Forte

This sauna built from fir in the hills of Piacenza has two wings either side, a reference to its namesakes Huginn and Muginn, the raven messengers of the Norse god Odin.

Raised on stilts, a ladder provides access to the sauna, which has room for two people and a porthole window for them to peep out at the landscape.

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One Man Sauna, Germany, by Modular Beat

German architecture collective Modulorbeat repurposed concrete components normally used to build underground mines to create a vertical sauna shaft in Germany.

Located by an abandoned factory in an industrial mining town, the user can climb up the metal rungs embedded in the exterior to reach a wood-lined electric sauna. Further up the tower, a metal grille forms a relaxation platform under a translucent roof that can be raised to make the sauna open air.

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WA Sauna by GocStudio

WA Sauna, USA, by goCstudio

A sauna in Seattle floats on a lake on a pontoon that users can swim off in between sessions. Built after the local community raised funds with Kickstarter donations, WA Sauna can be reached by kayak or boat.

The deck is made of aluminium and marine-grade varnished plywood, and the sauna itself is built from stained plywood on the outside and lined with spruce wood inside. A side hatch opens to provide the perfect diving-off point, and the roof can be used for sunbathing in warm weather.

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Dezeen top 10 saunas

Bathing Machine, UK, by Haeckels

Taking design cues from the the bathing carriages of prudish Victorians, skincare brand Haeckels built a sauna on wheels that can be rolled down the beach in Margate.

Crowdfunding was used to raise the money for the sauna, which is free to use, and donors names are etched on to the blackened wood that clads its gabled exterior.

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