Please note: this page is a work in progress.
Take your pleasure seriously.
Charles + Ray Eames
This quote from Charles + Ray Eames underpins all the research + social mission of WARMTH. When I first came across Finnish sauna culture, on a remote organic farm in Western Finland, I loved that the sauna was a seamless part of weekly life; it wasn’t a matter of ‘if’ we would fire up the sauna, just a discussion about when it would happen. I thought it was fantastic that something so simple could transform your quality of life, giving the week a shape - something to really look forward to at the end of a day, and giving your body a real treat.
Researching sauna + bathing culture has taken me across the world, from the basement of the Finnish Church in London, to old marble-lined Turkish baths in Istanbul, and a Zapotec sweat lodge in Mexico. In 2014 went on a sauna research trip to Helsinki + visited the Finnish Sauna Society, which got me hooked on the dark, soft heat of smoke saunas + set me going on my mission to build a mobile sauna of my own.
UK SAUNA LIBRARY
Throughout 2019 I’m going to be collecting a library of all books / research + works of art that I can find that [in English] about saunas. I’ll be uploading my catalogue here: books I already have [colour pictures] and wishlist [titles / black and white images].
SAUNA GLOBAL NETWORK
There’s quite a family of mobile and independent saunas all across the world. I’ve selected saunas for first section of this list that have a political + social ethos around community / affordable access [not high-end], and who focus specifically on the art of sauna bathing [as opposed to spas where the sauna is one of many facilities + treatments]. I haven’t visited all of these but have either come across them online, been recommended them:
Sweat It Out: Towel Diplomacy in Boston, USA
Sweat it Out offers free Wintertime public access to a beautiful, handmade mobile sauna (courtesy of the DS Institute,) which also acts as the site for and prelude to frank but friendly, mediated conversations. We bring the rejuvenating health benefits of sauna out of the spas and back to its community-strengthening origins, and then apply the well-being and camaraderie it generates towards exploring local tensions and disputes.
Sweat it Out will base its initial offerings along Fort Point’s beautiful, MBTA-accessible waterfront, where rapid real estate development presents immediate fodder for conversations about Boston’s conflicted desires for growth and authentic local character.
DS Institute, USA
The Mobile Sauna by the DS Institute provides an open and comfortable environment for warmth, rejuvenation, and conversation. This sauna is portable in order to go places where the culture is becoming increasingly privatized and reminds us of the importance of shared space in fostering healthy lifestyles. People come together in the Mobile Sauna to cleanse and engage in warm conversations and fiery discourse.
Butchers’ Heat, touring: based in Copenhagen, Denmark
A converted military truck holding regular public sauna sessions in the Port of Copenhagen.
Freie internationale Tankstelle, touring: Berlin, Germany
Firefit was built under the direction of “SaunaProfessor“ Unto Siikanen together with carpenters from the cooperative Pro Puu in 2012, alongside World Design Capital in Lahti. The Project was Part of the " Public Mind Map Tour " supported by the Goethe Institut Helsinki. The mobile finnish Sauna with the creative energy force. Powered by FIT freie internationale tankstelle.
Le Camion Sauna, touring: Berlin - Kreuzberg - anywhere
The Idea got inspired from the mobile sauna community in Teuva (Sauna Ajot) and the canadians from Sauna Sessions. The breath of this project is to travel around, to be mobile, to see amazing places and to meet people on the road, being guest and host at the same time in the same place, making sharing of life experiences, exchange and dialogue straight forward ! The cosy Sauna atmosphere makes communication between people easy and nice.
Is a mobile experience sauna built in the summer of 2013. The sauna that is pulled by car, have visited a lot of places in its first years, including Västeras Kulturnatt, Haninge Cultural Centre, Vällingby Cultural Centre and the Finnish Institute in Stockholm and made a small tour in Roslagen and Norrtälje. In addition to offering The Visitors a possibility to have a fresh sauna bath in a wood heated Sauna, we have been offering cultural events like Finnish tango music, art workshops and artworks which then also become a revolving art exhibition. more info and photos are also available on:
Hotspot Sauna, touring: Netherlands - Belgium
In an informal setting we want everyone to get acquainted with the healing effect of the sauna. Not only to relax body and mind but also to connect us naturally; with yourself, with each other and with the environment. Immersing together in the overwhelming warmth and charging with the power of mother nature. Feet on the earth, air along your skin, hands by the fire, water on your tongue. A wonderful experience and a fantastic addition to a varied festival program.
Hiki Hut, Duluth + touring, Minnesota
We want people to experience the wood-fired sauna they may be familiar with, but in new and different locations; maybe with great views or a serene setting. We hope to educate those new to sauna on how to get the most out of their experience. And most importantly, we plan to bring people together to share in the good feelings that result from sauna.
HotBox Mobile Sauna, touring, New York
We’re HotBox, New York’s first and only public wood-burning sauna on wheels. We serve the five boroughs hot heat as a sanctuary away from the city. Each session includes a towel, plenty of H₂0, access to a cool outdoor shower, and lots of hygge (that's Danish for "cozy good times"). HotBox is a safe and positive alternative self-care space for all to feel good and sweat. Good vibes only.
Rangi saun, smoke sauna, Tallinn, Estonia
They built Rangi saun together in order to combine the best elements of their favourite saunas, preserve an authentic homely experience, and also ensure that it can be a welcoming environment for international visitors - even if they've never been to a sauna before and don't know what to do!
Left Coast Sauna, USA
Founded in 2016 by a group of Bay Area sauna lovers, Left Coast Sauna is dedicated to serving the Best Coast with gorgeous, accessible, and healthy cedar saunas. We seek to connect adventure & wellness communities to sauna culture in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. Our first offering is a 6-person 100% cedar sauna powered by a 40,000 BTU furnace, on wheels.
Hothouse, Ontario, Canada
A custom-built mobile sauna
Mobile Sauna Festival, Teuva, Finland
612 Sauna Society, Minneapolis, USA
Sauna Lonna, island off Helsinki, Finland
The new public sauna in Lonna Island is a tribute to the traditional sauna culture. The log-frame sauna features men's and women's loungers that warm up with large, single-fired wood burning stoves.
Kaurilan Sauna, Helsinki, Finland
If you want to experience a traditional wood heated sauna in the heart of Helsinki, a visit to Kaurilan Sauna is essential!
Bosca Beatha, touring, Ireland, UK
Mobile sauna travelling around Ireland
Banya No 1, Old Street, London, UK
Luxurious + not the cheapest, but for £30 off-peak you get to experience an amazing brick-built Russian Banya.
The Finnish Church in London, Rotherhithe
Sauna To Go, Hungary
The Australian Sweat Bathers Association, Australia
Loyly Sauna, Portland, OR, USA
Sauna Nova Scotia, USA
Sauna Tour, Finland
Saunatour is a collaboration of 6 fantastic saunas and their services ranging from natural healing peat treatments to extreme hot and cold experiences. Saunatour is the ultimate way to experience everything the arctic nature has to offer: snow and polar nights in the winter; midsummer nights and the arctic wilderness in the summer and bright colors of autumn and Northern Lights season from September until March.
Blog on saunas around the world
Ceviarem Temascal, Oaxaca, Mexico
Not strictly a sauna but a beautifully hosted sweat lodge. I visited in Autumn 2018 as part of a research trip for Day of the Dead, and had a wonderful time. The hosts are lovely + the courtyard setting is the perfect secluded place to experience the sweat lodge. It’s a guided session, fairly gentle in terms of heat + you never feel claustrophobic; each step is explained + you always have water to sip. The mixes of herbs + scents were all beautiful + I came away with ideas of new combinations of scents + incenses to explore around WARMTH.
SAUNA RESOURCES + WEBSITES
Sauna - rocks do matter
A description of the geology + physical properties of sauna rocks
British Sauna Society
Sauna builders + suppliers, UK
Supply quality sauna-building timber in the UK
International sauna equipment suppliers
Stockists of sauna hats + vihta/venik whisks in London