Atmosphere: A Revival
Architectural Sauna Installation, 2020
Melbourne Design Week
‘Atmosphere: A Revival’ is an architectural sauna installation. 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.
The work seeks to promote individual and social wellbeing through the revival of bathing culture along the Yarra River in Melbourne. A temporary re-activation of what was an iconic swimming destination from the 1920s-1960s, the project inspires ways in which the Yarra can be better experienced.
The design philosophy of the sauna is centred on a blurring of the boundaries between personal and public space. The structure is designed to encourage visitors to explore the threshold between intimate social contact and personal space. Traditional materials are combined with more experimental ones so as to play with levels of transparency and obscurity. Such materials allow the natural environment to have a presence in the space, whilst maintaining an intimate and sacred atmosphere.
Designed to be completely off-grid, the sauna is a lightweight, prefabricated structure that has a sensitive footprint on the site and the environment. The structure is made from reclaimed timber, with offcuts from the construction process being reused to supply the heat. The flat packed design ensures that the sauna panels are able to be dismantled to allow for future reuse.
As the Yarra River is not in a swimmable state, we built a ‘bucket shower’ on a refurbished diving board on the river bank where guests were able to cool off by dousing themselves theatrically with cold water. The design of the structure's slanted, extended roof allowed fresh rain water to be captured into a barrel positioned underneath, which was then pumped into the bucket shower system.
The work was exhibited as part of Melbourne Design Week 2020, an initiative of the Victorian Government in collaboration with the NGV.
Based on the overwhelming response to this project, we are offering a limited range of made-to-order saunas. For more information or to place an order, click here.