If you have Finland in your list of must-see destinations, remember to accommodate a trip to the local saunas. It is said, “If you want to understand Finland and its people, getting familiar with sauna is a good starting point.” Sauna is a big part of Finnish culture. It is a way of life in Finland – toddlers take their first turns in sauna at only a few months old, and from then on, never stop. Visit Finland, the official travel guide of Finland states that there are enough saunas in Finland to easily accommodate all 5.4 million Finns simultaneously. Estimates place the number of saunas across the country at somewhere between two and three million.
To help you make a choice, our latest feature destination is one that brings saunas and sustainability together. Löyly, owned by Finnish actor Jasper Pääkkönen, is a modern sauna complex occupying a stretch of beautiful Helsinki waterfront in Hernesaari. The team behind the project prides themselves in a strong commitment to sustainable business, a reason why they opted for green construction.
Situated less than two kilometers away from the city centre, it is very central but at the same time the landscape is like in the outer archipelago. The plot is situated in a future coastal park that will be part of a broader “Helsinki park” connecting the capital city to the sea. The building was designed to be slim and elongated so as not to cut the narrow park strip. The volume is kept as low as possible so that it doesn’t block views from the future residential blocks. Instead of building a conventional building, the sauna is developed into an easy-going, faceted construction that is more part of the park than a conventional building. When the wooden building turns gray, it will become more like a rock on the shoreline.
Adopting sustainability across the premise
The main materials used in the interiors are black concrete, light Scandinavian birch wood, blackened steel and wool. All materials are durable and long lasting. The wood used is pressed, glued and slightly heat treated birch, a new sustainable Finnish innovation made of left over materials of the plywood industry that normally is burned to produce energy. This is how waste is turned into a beautiful recycled material. In addition to the long sofas, glued laminated birch has been used on walls, tabletops, the long bar and even in the unisex toilet sink.
There are three different saunas that are all heated with wood: a continuously heated sauna, a once heated sauna and a traditional smoke sauna – a true rarity in an urban sauna.
The building is heated with district heating and electricity is produced with water and wind power.
The building is first FSC-certified building in Finland and second in Scandinavia. Forest Stewardship Council’s certificate proves that wood material comes from responsibly managed forests.
The restaurant serves organic food and sustainably caught fish.