The chilly Nordic country of Finland is known for its deeply-rooted sauna culture. Dating back to as early as the 16th century, saunas became a popular way to beat the dangerously frigid winter temperatures. In a country with around 5.5 million inhabitants, there are more than 2 million saunas scattered about the land — that’s an average of one sauna per household. In Finland, these heated refuges are not thought of as a luxury, but rather, a necessity to protect people against the cold. Before modern healthcare, most Finnish mothers even gave birth in saunas, as the warm rooms were thought to have hygienic, purifying qualities.
The range of Finnish saunas varies in size and form, from a simple wood burning stove, to modern mobile tents that provide a place to warm up, and are most often located within homes or on lakeside shores. However, a group of Finnish friends decided to take the comforts of steam to the water by building a floating, multi-level sauna — combining the leisure of water sports with an age-old form of relaxation.
Built out of recycled wood, the buoyant steam bath features a rooftop observation deck, a barbecue, and a hammock, making it the perfect place to unwind on the water with friends, whether in winter or the warmer summer months. The timber material reflects the same palette used in traditional saunas, adding a touch of warmth. A set of repurposed plastic drums keeps the sauna afloat, while a small outboard motor is used to power the vessel, showing the group’s do-it-yourself sensibilities.
Naturally, the floating sauna’s amenities and design are enough to make anyone wish they could hop on board — which the builders soon realized. Ready to share their invention with the world, the group made their sauna available for rent, giving anyone the chance to set sail in warmth. Check out the floating sauna’s Facebook page for more information.