German designers Toni Egger and Felix Tarantik are creating mobile saunas inside the aluminium shells of Swiss ski lift gondolas.
The four-person Saunagondel can withstand extreme weather conditions and, with a footprint of two by two metres, is small and lightweight enough to transport from place to place.
The sauna is fitted with custom-made silver fir wood interiors and a 4.5 kW electric heater that can reach temperatures of 100 degrees Celsius (212 Fahrenheit). The gondola windows are retained, offering panoramic views of the surroundings, and WiFi controls are included if users wish to pass the time on their mobile devices.
“We both use saunas regularly – it’s a cultural thing and it’s very healthy as it increases your core temperature so your body fights off germs and viruses,” said Egger. “But the current style of saunas is very traditional. They have never been designed in a modern, simplistic, high-quality way and are all lacking a sense of beauty we were looking for.”
Explaining the decision to use ski gondolas, sourced from resorts across the Alps, Tarantik said: “We were looking for a frame that could withstand extreme temperature changes. Ski gondolas are built for that; they’re indestructible.”
To create the Saunagondel, metal workers, engineers and carpenters from across Germany collaborated with Egger and Tarantik and outdoor sports company Vaude.
The saunas are available to buy or rent, and the developers have also designed buckets, ladles and mobile showers that can be purchased as a Saunagondel accessory.
While the Saunagondel is located safely on solid ground, a ski resort in Ylläs, Finland operates a ski lift sauna gondola suspended in the air. Eight people can fit in the cabin, which rises over 700 metres above the Lapland landscape.
A selection of some of the world's most stylish, spectacular and surprising saunas
is featured in the latest issue of CLADmag.