Public Saunas, Gothenburg and Kiruna
Amongst containers and cranes in the industrial dock, Frihamnen, in Gothenburg, an innovative structure appears.
The elephant-like public sauna overlooking the water, is mostly made from recycled materials: the walls in the dressing room are made from 12000 glass bottles, recycled steel covers the outside and the inside features a warm timber-lined interior. The building, designed by German architecture firm Raumblabor Berlin, is part of the city’s 400th anniversary in year 2021.
It is no coincidence that the city has gone for a sauna to celebrate – in Scandinavia it is part of a long history of public baths, which were once a place for social gatherings.
Other current examples include the Solar Egg – a giant 5x4 metre sauna in Kiruna, designed by artist duo Mats Bigert and Lars Bergström to encourage public discussions ahead of the controversial move of the entire city. The structure made from stainless golden mirror sheeting and pine and aspen wood interior, can be deconstructed – in November 2017 it represented Swedish design at the Swedish Institute in Paris.