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FITNESS, HEALTH, WELLNESS

Latest news

Taichi Kuma creates seashell-inspired sauna on Japan’s famous art island

I like saunas where you can detox yourself from digital gadgets, internalise and confront yourself
– Taichi Kuma
Credit: Koki Sato

Taichi Kuma, son of the celebrated Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, has designed a striking new sauna for the Sana Mane glamping destination in southern Japan.

Nestled between a forest and a beach, the 150-layer wooden sauna is built from 5,000 pieces of stacked plywood and curves upwards into a spiral shape inspired by the geometry of seashells and fishtails. In a nod to this, the structure – called Sazae – is named after the Japanese word for the horned turban sea snail’s shell.

Inside the sauna, the pleats of wood are gently shaped to provide a comfortable seating space. The interior is illuminated by natural light from an oculus in the ceiling as well as specialist durable LED lighting.

The temperature and humidity are kept at an optimum level, despite the high ceiling, thanks to environmental simulations and a design which forces ventilation.

Taichi became a partner at Kengo Kuma and Associates (KKAA) in 2020. His father Kengo founded the practice and has worked with leading hospitality brands around the world such as Six Senses, Capella and St Regis.

Kengo’s wellness projects range from one of the largest spas in the Caribbean at Mandarin Oriental Dellis Cay and the pixelated stone design of the Yunfeng Spa Resort in China to skincare packaging for Aman and a meditation house at Das Kranzbach spa hotel in Bavaria.

Taichi collaborated with Japan-based sauna brand TTNE to realise the design of Sazae. According to KKAA, Sazae’s linear pleats were pieced together like a puzzle and draw on biomimicry.

The eye-catching sauna has been brought to life on Naoshima island, a creative hotspot known as ‘Japan’s art island’ thanks to its abundance of art museums, sculptures and architecture.

Taichi describes the sauna as a “cave-like space with many twists and turns, cut off from the outside world by a thin wall”.

For him, its most important advantage is its ability to help people experience Naoshima’s nature more deeply and profoundly once they exit the sauna.

“Personally, I like saunas where you can detox yourself from digital gadgets, internalise and confront yourself. Saunas have the effect of attracting such natural charm. When you bathe in plenty of moisture and heat, the air you feel afterwards is something else.”

He encourages bathers to use the sauna as part of a contrast thermotherapy cycle and cool off by swimming in the nearby sea.

Reserved for hotel guests only, Sazae must be booked in advance. Guests are allowed to eat and drink inside and are offered bath towels, sauna hats, sauna mats and sandals for free.

They can also upgrade their experience by selecting either a herbal or citrus aromatherapy oil to scent the sauna and opt to take in a traditional Finnish vihta – a bunch of young birch leaves used for light slapping on the body to help with circulation.

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Latest news

Taichi Kuma creates seashell-inspired sauna on Japan’s famous art island

I like saunas where you can detox yourself from digital gadgets, internalise and confront yourself
– Taichi Kuma
Credit: Koki Sato

Taichi Kuma, son of the celebrated Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, has designed a striking new sauna for the Sana Mane glamping destination in southern Japan.

Nestled between a forest and a beach, the 150-layer wooden sauna is built from 5,000 pieces of stacked plywood and curves upwards into a spiral shape inspired by the geometry of seashells and fishtails. In a nod to this, the structure – called Sazae – is named after the Japanese word for the horned turban sea snail’s shell.

Inside the sauna, the pleats of wood are gently shaped to provide a comfortable seating space. The interior is illuminated by natural light from an oculus in the ceiling as well as specialist durable LED lighting.

The temperature and humidity are kept at an optimum level, despite the high ceiling, thanks to environmental simulations and a design which forces ventilation.

Taichi became a partner at Kengo Kuma and Associates (KKAA) in 2020. His father Kengo founded the practice and has worked with leading hospitality brands around the world such as Six Senses, Capella and St Regis.

Kengo’s wellness projects range from one of the largest spas in the Caribbean at Mandarin Oriental Dellis Cay and the pixelated stone design of the Yunfeng Spa Resort in China to skincare packaging for Aman and a meditation house at Das Kranzbach spa hotel in Bavaria.

Taichi collaborated with Japan-based sauna brand TTNE to realise the design of Sazae. According to KKAA, Sazae’s linear pleats were pieced together like a puzzle and draw on biomimicry.

The eye-catching sauna has been brought to life on Naoshima island, a creative hotspot known as ‘Japan’s art island’ thanks to its abundance of art museums, sculptures and architecture.

Taichi describes the sauna as a “cave-like space with many twists and turns, cut off from the outside world by a thin wall”.

For him, its most important advantage is its ability to help people experience Naoshima’s nature more deeply and profoundly once they exit the sauna.

“Personally, I like saunas where you can detox yourself from digital gadgets, internalise and confront yourself. Saunas have the effect of attracting such natural charm. When you bathe in plenty of moisture and heat, the air you feel afterwards is something else.”

He encourages bathers to use the sauna as part of a contrast thermotherapy cycle and cool off by swimming in the nearby sea.

Reserved for hotel guests only, Sazae must be booked in advance. Guests are allowed to eat and drink inside and are offered bath towels, sauna hats, sauna mats and sandals for free.

They can also upgrade their experience by selecting either a herbal or citrus aromatherapy oil to scent the sauna and opt to take in a traditional Finnish vihta – a bunch of young birch leaves used for light slapping on the body to help with circulation.

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Taichi Kuma, son of the celebrated Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, has designed a striking new sauna for the Sana Mane glamping destination in southern Japan.
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2023/THUMB351493_921660_933469.jpg

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