There’s more to the Arctic than snow and ice. The cold polar zone is now home to the world’s largest sauna, a pyramidal wood structure that accommodates up to 150 people. Designed in the local architectural style, the giant “Agora” sauna was created forSALT, the world’s first Arctic arts festival on the remote Norwegian island of Sandhornøya. The glass-fronted timber structure overlooks dramatic vistas of the white sand shoreline and Arctic Sea.
Created to celebrate an ‘Arctic state of mind,’ the SALT festival is a year-long event that features indigenous architecture, art, music, and food combined with international artistic influences. Organizers concentrated most of the activity at Sandhornøya island’s northern tip, a beautiful landscape with a white sand beaches and seaside views back by a rugged black mountains. Guests stay in ‘Njalla,’ mobile tent-like structures and feast onlocal seasonal fare, such as wild berries, fresh crab from the sea, and ethically sourced meat.
Unsurprisingly, the timber A-frame Agora sauna is one of the festival’s star attractions. Heated by four large wood-burning stoves, the sauna also serves as an insulated fish rack and includes a bar with a 100-person capacity.Amphitheater-like seating located opposite a large glass facade allows festivalgoers to see the sun set over the Arctic Atlantic. When not in use as a sauna, the multifunctional Agora offers a space for live concerts, seminars, readings, and theater performances.
The Agora sauna is open to the public until September 2015 and can be booked for private events. After September, the SALT festival will be relocated to Greenland for a year.