Saunagondel Outdoor SaunaS

Two German architects who prize the health and lifestyle benefits of the sauna were looking for a new way to design them.
17 July, 2017
"The current style of saunas is very traditional," explains Toni Egger, an industrial designer who along with partner Felix Tarantik launched Saunagondel, a thriving new busines.
"They have never been designed in a modern, simplistic, high ­quality way and are all lacking the sense of beauty we were looking for."

They also weren't designed to hold up to the elements in even the harshest weather, and that's how the team came up with a solution that recycles and repurposes old ski lift gondolas. The gondolas are built to be nearly indestructible, with frames that are designed to withstand extreme temperature changes.

The light aluminium weights are also attractive because the saunas are easier to transport and install. The four-person models are just two meters by two, and can move to different events and locations. There's even an eight-person model that suspends from cables as an actual ski lift in Ylläs, Finland.
Image: Facebook
Egger and Tarantik take the old gondola cars from Switzerland, where the business is located, and strip them down to their aluminium shells. They then insulate and redesign the interiors for a luxurious sauna experience. They finish the gondola interiors in high-quality silver fir wood, and outfit the saunas with award-winning Huum Drop electric heating systems imported from Estonia.

The 4.5 kW heaters can reach a toasty 100 degrees Celsius, delivering the warmth you expect from a sauna in snowy or windswept settings.

Each gondola turned sauna keeps its original plexiglass windows, so the views remain stunning when the Saunagondel is placed outdoors. There's also WiFi access available for users who want to stay connected while they relax and enjoy the hot rocks and health benefits. The heater control also works with WiFi access and a smartphone app, if preferred, but there's a physical dial with LCD temperature display too.
If you need one delivered by helicopter to the top of an urban high-rise, Saunagondel can arrange for that, but the attractive, minimalist models are meant to be used in any garden or yard with a 400-volt access – and the designers' attention to detail includes being careful to ship the right power cord for your country. The units can be either rented or purchased, and Saunagondel offers a line of accessories that include buckets, ladles and mobile showers.

As with anything truly stylish, the ski-gondola sauna was first introduced in Milan at the "Salone del Mobile" design fair in April. But the project is a truly European effort, and apart from Estonia, the Saunagondel team got help from other places too. The company highlights the collaborative work of electrical engineers, carpenters and metal workers that support the ability to bring the saunas to market. The German designers also collaborated with outdoor sports company Vaude.
Image: Canal+
Egger and Tarantik have seen real interest in the saunas so far, including a demonstration that had the Saunagondel set up in an ordinary urban streetscape where passers-by could take a look or chat with sauna occupants clad in pristine white robes. They've also won a lot of media attention, particularly for the recycled-aluminium concept at the heart of the Saunagondel.

At the end of the day, though, they're happy to have such a smart solution for the saunas they love.
Banner image: Canal+