For Melbourne Design Week 2020, Sydney-based art and architecture collective Studio Rain created a sauna installation along the Yarra River meant to revive bathing culture.
Studio Rain’s 62-square-foot sauna can fit six people. The art and architecture collective looked to "blur the boundaries between personal and public space," wanting bathers to embrace both "intimate social contact and inner stillness," according to Dwell.
The sauna takes its inspiration from Scandinavian and Japanese bathing rituals, where public bathhouses offer members of the community a space to focus on the body at a collective level.
"As populations rise and public spaces continue to shrink, levels of anxiety and loneliness are increasing," according to Studio Rain.
The work by Studio Rain aims to address these urban symptoms through engaging visitors in an intimate public ritual.
"Through a heightening of sensory awareness, visitors are invited to explore deeper connections to self, to others, and to nature," according to Studio Rain.
The 62-square-foot sauna was constructed with a reclaimed cypress pine wood frame, western red cedar seating, and lightweight polycarbonate walls and roof that allow natural light to shine through.
"Traditional materials are combined with more experimental ones so as to play with levels of transparency and obscurity, according to Studio rain.
"Such materials allow the natural environment to have a presence in the space, whilst maintaining an intimate and sacred atmosphere."
"A traditional, wood-fire stove by Sauna & Steam Australia heats the space to 60 to 80 degrees Celsius. Near the stove, walls are made of fiber cement for fire-proofing, and fiber cement flooring is found throughout as well. A low-swivel door was designed to prevent heat escape," according to Dwell.
"Heat rises, so saunas typically loose a lot of heat with larger doors," says Studio Rain cofounder Rachel Mackay. "We also like the element of play [the door] brought to the experience, like entering into a cubby house."