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Kim, Dean, Moore, Reichert, and Stover, TönöSauna

Main Street


TönöSauna is a wood-burning sauna shanty built from a salvaged 1966 Avion travel trailer located in Minneapolis. It is a social and civic space, a mobile new media platform for public talks, art, and presentations in which people can rest and warm themselves during the harsh winter months of the Upper Midwest. The Avion’s aluminum skin is the same as World War II military aircraft, now reclaimed in service of the public good. The custom-built interior mimics the construction of the trailer and contains curved, organic CAD/CAM fabricated benches. TönöSauna is an ergonomic landscape meant to accommodate a wide variety of body positions and body types.

We designed a series of 3D modeled and CAD/CAM fabricated inflatable structures to accompany the sauna at Northern Spark. The inflatables will be filled with snow, providing an artificial wintry landscape for visitors to inhabit in tandem with TönöSauna. The snowy inflatables will contain a field of LEDs, which respond to the atmospheric qualities and offer an interactive component to the spaces. The form and orientation of the inflatables will create a procession of expanding and contracting spaces to and from the sauna. Each inflatable will accommodate a different number of people and activities.

TönöSauna was originally commissioned by Art Shanty Projects 2012, a four-week art event on frozen Medicine Lake, Minnesota. We built a sauna because it is an important and restorative social space in the Upper Midwest, where temperatures dip below -20 degrees Celsius more than thirty days of the year. By making the sauna mobile, we can bring it to Twin Cities neighborhoods unfamiliar with or underserved by such a needed social space. We encourage people to come out of their homes and join others at the public talks, sound installations, and classes in the TönöSauna.