Secrets of Finnish Sauna Design

Apr 13, 2021

by Lassi A. Liikkanen

About the Book

Recent studies have established Finnish sauna bathing as a source of numerous health benefits. To enjoy the long-term effects, as well as immediate gratification from sauna bathing, one needs a proper Finnish sauna. For the first time, this book presents the wisdom which has been accumulated across centuries by Finnish builders, designers, and researchers, to perfect the sauna design. It instructs the reader to master both tangible and intangible, visible and invisible elements of a sauna. The book has a special emphasis on the sauna experience, living up to a belief that short-term satisfaction is the first step towards long-term health benefits.

This book is presented as a handbook for experience-driven sauna design. It covers all necessary aspects needed to create a functional, healthy and pleasurable sauna: from heating and air quality to interior design. It features several examples of contemporary Finnish sauna designs and outlines why a true sauna experience is so much more than merely “a hot room”.

The book is based on the author’s intensive research, which spans five years, an extensive bibliography and dozens of expert interviews. He heas authored 200+ articles about sauna on his website, called In 2019, he published a book (in Finnish), called “Hyvien löylyjen salaisuus” (roughly translated as ‘the secret of great steam’), which was released by a national publishing company, Rakennustieto. Now, he wants to reveal the Finnish wisdom of sauna design to the non-Finnish speaking audiences.

This book instructs the reader to understand how Finnish saunas are designed in order for them to provide a pleasant, vitalising and health-improving experience. The book is not a DIY manual, but provides adequate information for professional designers and competent craftsman to design functional Finnish saunas. For sauna enthusiasts, the book provides explanations on why a sauna can provide both desirable and unwanted experiences.

The Secrets of Finnish Sauna Design unveils the secrets of Finnish sauna design and construction for international audiences and, for the first time, reveals what it truly takes to create a great, Finnish-style sauna experience. Although Finns enjoy sauna for the sheer pleasure of it, the goal of the book is to support the design of saunas in which time passes unnoticed and health benefits are easy to reach.

The book is constructed around the author’s four-faceted model of the sauna experience: heat, air quality, interior design, and sauna culture. The first three elements of the book will provide concrete and research-supported arguments about how different sauna design choices affect the overall experience. These parts are direct adaptations of the Finnish original.

  • Heat: the mysteries of the sauna stove and stones, specifications and examples
  • Air quality: what’s in the sauna air? Mechanical and natural ventilation solutions
  • Interior design: ceiling, benches, walls, floor, windows, lighting, electronics, safety, and ergonomics

Additionally, the book includes a fresh introduction into Finnish sauna culture: the practice, the concepts of sauna, and its history. Together with a review of essential sauna technology innovations of the past 150 years, this part helps the reader to understand why Finnish saunas are built the way they are – at times almost precisely as they were a hundred years ago!

This is a book for professional designers and architects, DIY constructors, and home renovators (sauna owners and enthusiasts). Suitable for reading on special topics on undergraduate / graduate level architecture studies.

Release Date: 29 April 2021

About the Author

Lassi A. Liikkanen is a lead digital product designer at Qvik Ltd. (Finland) and an adjunct professor at Aalto University (Finland). He earned his Ph.D. in Design in 2010 from the Aalto University School of Engineering. He has more than ten years of design and research experience from the US and Europe and has published more than eighty peer-reviewed research papers. For several years he worked in the Finnish industry, helping medium and large enterprises launch and improve digital services. Since 2015 he has deployed ideas from service and experiential design in Finnish sauna design, writing books, a blog, and helping to design saunas.

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