taichi kuma announces the opening of the “sazae” sauna in naoshima
Kengo Kuma & Associates recently announced the completion of “SAZAE”, a captivating e covered in wood sauna at the SANA MANE glamping facility in Naoshima, Japan. Designed by Taichi Kuma and overseen by TTNE, a specialist sauna brand, the bathhouse emerges as a spiral shell structure boasting a pleated facade placed on a concrete base. To enter the sauna, guests are greeted by a cave-like entrance, which evokes the opening of a turban-like shell. At the tip of the sauna there is a slight oculus that illuminates the interior. ‘Projects that mimic living things are called biomimicry, and this time I was inspired by the irregularity of shells‘ observes Taichi Kuma.
The private sauna was open exclusively to hotel guests on 29 September 2022. A full accommodation reservation is required to enjoy the benefits of the sauna experience, which offers towels, hats, detox water and whip rental, among others. other things.
all images © Keishin Horikoshi / SS | courtesy of Kengo Kuma & Associates
a cave-like room boasting “innumerable folds and undulations”
Bringing on Instagram, chief architect Taichi Kuma further describes the interior design of the “SAZAE” sauna as a ‘cave-like space cut off from the outside world by a thick wall […] The only light that enters comes from the eye. To feel the light, I created countless folds and ripples with laminated plywood.‘By sculpting the surfaces with undulating movements, an engaging play of shadows invades the room, helping guests to further relax in the sauna experience at the HEALTHY MANE glamping facility without succumbing to any distraction.
the ‘SAZAE’ sauna is open exclusively to guests of the SANA MANE hotel
evoking a turban shell with a pleated wooden structure
To get that final spiral and pleated shape, the squad at Kengo Kuma & Associates, together TTNE and structural engineers created a series of digital simulations. ‘Normally, a space with such a high ceiling would not be suitable for a sauna. This is achieved by performing forced ventilation with intake from above and exhaust from below. By checking the model with 3D CAD and programming software, we were able to detail everything from shape to paneling and iterate heat simulations‘ writes the architect.
Once the final model was approved, the team proceeded to build the “SAZAE” sauna using approximately 5,000 pieces of CNC-cut plywood assembled on site as a puzzle, resulting in the intricately pleated and textured volume that changes shape from different angles.
using about 5,000 pieces of plywood to build the structure
a cave-like room with an oculus that illuminates it from above
a play of light and shadow through intricate folds and undulations
evoking the shape of a turban shell