More than an example of DIY design, the Sunday/Dimanche Portable Sauna was created by artist Carissa Carman for the purpose of staging invited performative site-specific actions and combines aspects of craft, architecture, and sculpture.
Inspired by Montreal’s vernacular architecture, the sauna exterior resembles the service kiosks used throughout the city for parking lot attendants: a miniature house with curved A-frame roof and red aluminum corrugated siding. Inside, however, an aromatic cedar clad room seats two or 3 people comfortably, and details such as a refurbished cedar door and window and an antique Percival Quebec two-burner stove evoke a rustic retreat.
Designed and built with sustainable and reclaimed materials, the fully functional, wood-powered sauna weighs under 1000 lbs and was constructed directly on a single-axle 4 x 8 trailer base using adaptations of guidelines on Kalle Hoffman’s sauna site and the Tumbleweed DIY Book of Backyard Sheds and Tiny Houses. It is constructed to travel, and meant to arrive in new towns, parks, parking lots, unused corners of urban space, or museums, instigating collaborations and prompting transformation, revitalization, and renewal wherever it goes.
The sauna features handcrafted furnishings intended to trigger an element of surprise and discovery. Quality construction elements sourced locally in Montreal include a Foyer Universel firesafe two-walled chimney and Jasztex Blue Jeanious insulation made from recycled blue jean fibers. To accommodate practical needs, accessories include a crate for storing wood, small lanterns, an ash bucket, and an outside towel rack. Resourcefulness, ethical construction, and a pioneering spirit inform the design, as does creating an atmosphere of welcome, everyday ritual, and care.
Following a series of temporary installations this summer, including at Concordia University’s FOFA Gallery, Montreal (ending July 6th), the sauna is seeking a permanent home.
Photo credits: Javiera Ovalle Sazie, Elisabeth Picard, Guy L’Heuruex