The basic design studio in Milan Small Architecture designed for a Swedish Bed & Breakfast floating sauna, a sauna built on a floating platform, a small structure dedicated to relaxation and contemplation. The theme of the floating sauna is very common in the Scandinavian countries, where people can not live without a sauna, but it is spreading rapidly in other areas, involving more and more designers and architects, so much so that we can talk about floating sauna design.
The sauna, entirely self-built by the same design team, is the first of a series of interventions to increase the offer of a small Bed & Breakfast in Sweden.
Åmot is about three hours drive north of Stockholm, in the Swedish forest, far away from the main tourist routes in the country. For this reason, buyers, a Belgian couple who have moved to Sweden for a few years, have begun to develop several projects aimed at offering Bed & Breakfast services that are otherwise impossible to find nearby.
The choice of relying on an Italian design team, albeit with previous professional experiences in Scandinavia, has arisen from the willingness of customers to reinterpret and reread critical typology of a typically Nordic type of construction, overcoming any preconceptions.
The choice to build on a floating platform was suggested by the site itself, characterized by a steep slope of the ground toward the lake and the presence of a thick birch forest that would have made it impossible to build near the water without too much invasive interventions on the ground. In this way, besides respecting the nature of the place, the sauna becomes a bridge between the ground and the water and is equally related to both elements.
In addition to space for rest and contemplation, the floating platform also serves as a canoe for sailing and small boats, replacing an old jetty previously installed in the same location. The indoor environment, which can accommodate up to eight people at the same time, is separated from the outside through a covered filter area used as a dressing room and storage for wood.
The wall to the lake is fully glazed in such a way as to allow contemplation of water and landscape regardless of atmospheric conditions. While the interior finish is made of alder wood, very similar to birch and traditionally used for indoor saunas, throughout the Scandinavia, the exterior is inspired by Japanese tradition.
The vertical slats in fir wood have been handled using the old technique of Yakisugi which consists in burning the surface by oxidizing it and making it resistant to parasites and weather resistant. In addition to avoiding the use of polluting chemicals, this finishing makes it possible to emphasize the structure of wood, while at the same time the tonality obtained helps to mitigate the visual impact of the structure. Also from a chromatic point of view, the new intervention becomes an element of passage between the dark waters of the lake and the vegetation behind it.
Floating Sauna work in progress
The sauna was built in just over two weeks, thanks to the prefabrication of the supporting frames that make up the structure. This has allowed to reduce the assembly time made difficult anyway by both the shape of the site and the instability of the weather.
Project: Small Architecture Workshop (www.smallarchitecture.it) - G. Marchesi, A. Masperi, V. Panella - Client: private - Place: Åmot, Sweden - Area: 11m2 (30 m2 platform) - Year: 2015