Minimalist Barrel-Inspired Sauna Is Built Using Thinning Trees Collected From Japanese Forest

I haven’t spent a lot of time in saunas, because for some reason, being stuck in a small room that is essentially a very hot bath, seems to trigger my anxiety and makes me feel really claustrophobic. But, I know this isn’t a universal feeling, and majority of the people LOVE saunas, and find them pretty relaxing and therapeutic. As they should. Stepping into a sauna is supposed to be detoxifying for you, and can help relieve any pains and aches you may suffer from. They produce a feeling of relaxation within you, as there is an increase in the blood flow to your skin, and your blood circulation also improves. And, the YOKI Sauna by Kairi Eguchi Studio seems like an excellent choice to relax and unwind in.

Designer: Kairi Eguchi Studio

Designed by Osaka-based Kairi Eguchi Studio and inspired by the classic structure of the barrel, the YOKI Sauna is located on the site of an abandoned elementary school in Hyogo, Japan. It is designed to be a rejuvenating and relaxing experience that is deeply rooted in nature and local heritage. The minimalist and warm wooden form of the sauna was built using thinning trees collected from the surrounding forest.

The structure is marked by a stepped ceiling, and accentuated by a long and narrow window. This interesting feature allows for an interplay of light and shade, in turn creating an ethereal and mesmerizing experience for visitors. The YOKI Sauna is nestled in Aogaki, Tamba City, and is designed to facilitate and foster a symbiotic relationship with the surrounding environment since the water used in the sauna’s baths is drawn from the headwaters of the Kakogawa River.

The architectural studio also paid immense attention to the branding of YOKI Sauna, which pays tribute to the backdrop of the nearby mountains. This extends the scope of the project and the theme and essence of the sauna beyond its architectural design. Since the project was shaped using thinning trees felled from the mountains, the sauna logo consists of four interconnected trees. The felling of the trees was initiated by the facility’s management company Ki-ei.