Art Sauna of the Serlachius Museums – what an experience!

Sauna and architecture lovers are in for a treat at the unique Art Sauna of the Serlachius Museums, opened in Mänttä-Vilppula, Finland, in the summer of 2022.

The entrance to the art sauna
The Art Sauna was designed by architect trio Héctor Mendoza, Mara Partida and Boris Bežan. The round steam room is accessed through an outdoor space.

THE CONCRETE STRUCTURED Art Sauna is almost hidden on the lakeside at Serlachius Museum Gösta. The sauna building, opened in the summer of 2022 in Mänttä, Finland, was designed by a Spanish architect trio Héctor Mendoza, Mara Partida and Boris Bežan. Implementation design in the project was by Finnish architect partner Pekka Pakkanen.

Green roofs on a sauna building
The sauna building with green roofs blends into the surroundings.
Exterior of the Art Sauna in Mänttä
The Serlachius Museum Gösta rises behind the modern sauna building .
Roly Poly chairs
The large sauna terrace offers places for cooling down. The jolly Roly Poly chairs are by Faye Toogood.

Most visitors to the Serlachius Museums have come from far away. This is why, says development director Päivi Viherkoski, they must be taken very good care of.

“In addition to art experiences and good food, we can now also offer a place for relaxation and experiences for the senses and in nature,” she says.

The sauna culture is changing in the direction of memorable experiences and socialising.

The Art Sauna is related to a new sauna culture where the tradition of relaxation and cleansing has been replaced by a pursuit for memorable experiences and socialising. Great experiences are created by opposites: in addition to hot and cold, the building alternates between soft and hard materials. The oak arches of the lounge ceiling soften the granite surfaces. According to Viherkoski, the building is not an extension of the art museum, but it does share the same interaction between nature and art.

A round sauna
The round sauna benches are made of heat-treated aspen. The sauna is big enough for about 20 people.
Artwork by Tuula Lehtinen
In the outdoor shower, you can find the Embrace mosaic work by the artist Tuula Lehtinen, where pine trees gilded by the evening sun are reflected on the surface of the water.

Satu Rautiainen’s artwork, Birds’ Drinking Place, adorns the lobby. The theme is repeated in the sauna textiles. Outside the sauna, you can take a shower next to Tuula Lehtinen’s mosaic work.

The sauna, with its green roof, is well camouflaged at the Melasjärvi lakeside at Art Museum Gösta. The interior consists of Finnish and international design: the sauna scoop and bucket was designed by Antrei Hartikainen, while items in the lounge area were designed by Klaus Haapaniemi and Jasper Morrison, among others.

Nikari December Lounge chair
The ceiling of the Art Sauna sitting room is made by beautiful oak arches. The December Lounge chairs are by Nikari.
Outdoor fireplace
There is an outdoor fireplace on the terrace.
Art Sauna in Mänttä, Finland
The Art Sauna was among the top 3 buildings for the Finlandia Prize for Architecture in 2022.

The Art Sauna was shortlisted for the Finlandia Prize for Architecture in 2022. The pre-selection jury commented the Art Sauna in a statement: “The Art Sauna is unmistakeably a manifestation of Finland’s new sauna culture, where the tradition for calm and cleansing has been replaced by a pursuit for memorable experiences and socialising. In a country of three million saunas and 200 million annual sauna visits, the Art Sauna is a breath of something new, fresh and different. The execution and finishing here represent a level of quality that is truly exceptional.”

The Art Sauna can be booked for a private function, or you can enjoy it on a public sauna day, once a month in the fall of 2022. Art Sauna and Art Museum Gösta, Joenniementie 47, 35800 Mänttä, Finland

See also:

Sauna accessories at Finnish Design Shop >

Text: Arja Kuittinen Images: Marc Goodwin / Archmospheres

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