Sauna Löyly in Helsinki

A visit to the sauna is one of the oldest Finnish tradition. Nowadays, almost five and a half million Finns in the country have three million three hundred saunas. This is both public and private, in apartments or country houses. Public saunas have not opened very often in recent years, so the Löyly design of the Avanto architectural bureau is doubly noticeable.

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The Löyly sauna-restaurant (the name means “steam”) is positioned not only as a tourist attraction, although it is located not far from the port where liners from Estonia and Sweden arrive, but also as a place of leisure for the Finns themselves. The construction was initiated by the city of Helsinki.

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Under the construction of a site in the area of Hernesaari, the former industrial zone, which is now actively developing and turns into residential. There are no apartment buildings yet, but the place where you can gather with neighbors or friends is already in full operation.

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The architects from the Avanto bureau were engaged in the design of the complex (by the way, in the Finnish translation this word means “ice-hole”), and they took into account the plans for the future improvement and development of the district. The building turned out to be low and stretched along the shore. Thus, it will not overlap the view of the bay from the windows of future apartments and will not disrupt the landscape of the park, which is going to be here.

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The Löyly complex is an ordinary rectangle covered with a wooden frame. It performs aesthetic and practical functions. With the first everything is clear (look at the pictures), and the second requires an explanation.

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The frame acts as a blind and steps. “Blinds” protect the guests from extraneous views and direct sunlight, and on the stairs you can climb to the roof where the terrace is located. It overlooks the center of Helsinki and the sea. The shape of the building repeats the relief of the coastline. When in due course the tree from which the facade is made, will darken, the sauna in general will merge with a landscape.

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Inside the complex is divided into two parts: in one there is a spa zone and steam rooms (two traditional Finnish) in the other – a restaurant. These rooms offer stunning views of the sea. In saunas and a common recreation area, large panoramic windows, here they are, like shutters, and closes the external wooden facade.

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Sensations are unusual: you are sitting in a therma, where the temperature is 110 degrees, and you observe how seagulls fly around the window and run on each other waves. In the winter, between the visits to the sauna, you can dive into the ice-hole.

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The interiors of the sauna and the restaurant are decorated by Joanna Laajisto Creative Studio. Of the materials they used only black concrete, Scandinavian birch, dark steel and wool textiles. All wooden elements are made not from solid wood, but are glued from fragments that remain after the production of plywood. Thus, the waste from the woodworking industry has turned into pleasant walls, benches, countertops and a bar counter.

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In addition to them in the restaurant are the armchairs of the Italian factory Torre, covered with woolen fabrics Kvadrat, bar stools Gubi. For the sauna area, the designers chose the Finnish Nikari chairs.

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By the way, on the secondarily used wood, the concerns of the architectural bureau Avanto about the ecological compatibility did not end. To illuminate the restaurant and bath complex use electricity derived from the energy of water and wind, saunas are heated by a tree coming only from renewable forests, and the restaurant prepares food from organic products.

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