PARTISANS Grotto Sauna
Source: This Sauna Takes the Edge Off the Cold, and Conventional Sauna Design
Conventional sauna design has been using angular shapes for a long time, and that’s something a bit at odds with lounging comfortably in the heat. What if that warm wood interior could be curvaceous, soft to the touch, and even the eyes? The people at design firm Partisans have created just that with their recent project called Grotto. It might be the most beautiful sauna we’ve ever seen.
The magically warm cave is located on private San Souci island in the exclusive Georgian Bay region of Lake Huron’s eastern shore. Perched on weather worn rocks just above the waters edge, the exterior of the 800sqft building is timber clad and angular – a decision that matches the mid-century home of the owner. “Then you move inside, which is visceral, warm, and sculptural,” says designer Jonathan Friedman. “We wanted to design a building that would transport the visitor into another world… like a grotto. The clients told us that each time they enter it, it’s almost as if they’re rediscovering the space for the first time.”
To realize the unique project, Partisans partners Jonathan Friedman and Pooya Baktash enlisted the help of their entire office in a “design-play” where everyone could present ideas. Given the go-ahead with this design, they set about sourcing special rot-resistant local cedar for the interior. Then, enlisting the help of Toronto-based millwork company MCM, they 3D modeled the interior and used CNC machines to sculpt each puzzle-like piece. The entire pre-fab structure was then moved to the remote site using two barges, one for the building and another for a crane. You can see the moving and assembly process below.