An Ornamental Shade and a Desert Sauna for Burning Man 2019

This year’s theme for the famous annual Burning Man festival revolves around the notion of “Metamorphosis”. Taking place in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada, from the 25th of August till the 2nd of September, each year artists and architects from around the world get creative and imagine installations and pavilions responding to one general question.

For the 2019 edition, Burning Man has already revealed the design for the Central Temple by Geordie Van Der Bosch. Read on to discover more about 2 interventions, taking part in this year's event, an Ornamental Shade from San Francisco and a Desert Sauna from Finland.

Andromeda Reimagined - John Marx - San Francisco

Andromeda Reimagined . Image Courtesy of John Marx

Designed by architect John Marx, AIA, co-founding Design Principal and Chief Artistic Officer of Form4 Architecture, “Andromeda Reimagined: A Sanctuary in Deep Playa” is an interactive installation, part of the 2019 Burning Man festival. With his concepts binding architecture to both the emotional and intellectual realm, John Marx creates contextual and sensitive outcomes. In fact, the main purpose of his intervention is to honor female heroes, encourage female empowerment as well as provide a shading area for the concert-goers. He reimagined the Andromeda Greek myth, as “a strong, independent woman, saving herself with the help of a supportive community”.

Andromeda Reimagined . Image Courtesy of John Marx

Fabricated with CNC-milled plywood on a steel structure, the 26 feet tall five-sided pyramid with a 15 feet diameter, evokes starry skies. When illuminated from within, during the night, the installation projects a playful light onto the exterior. “Freedom & Awaken,” a bronze sculpture, decorates the center space, and the interior walls are adorned with hanging panels. People are invited to mark the walls with their own female heroes.

Andromeda Reimagined . Image Courtesy of John Marx

“The structure itself relates to the infinite potential of the stars in the sky—specifically the Andromeda constellation, but not in any literal way, […] the white star-shaped cutouts and the dramatic swirls represent the arc of planets and stars as they move across the sky.” -- John Marx, AIA, Architect, co-founding Design Principal and Chief Artistic Officer of Form4 Architecture.

Steam of Life - Sauna on Fire and JKMM Architects - Finland

Steam of Life . Image Courtesy of Sauna On Fire And JKMM Architects

Steam of Life, a circular wooden pavilion, will revisit the sauna experience, like a deconstructed art installation. The project was co-created by JKMM Architects, a group of architects and designers based in Helsinki, Finland, founded twenty years ago, and Sauna on Fire collective, a Helsinki based international platform for participatory culture and civic engagement. The installation is an interpretation of the essence of the Finns in a timber pavilion.

Steam of Life . Image Courtesy of Sauna On Fire And JKMM Architects

Deeply rooted in Finnish society, Saunas are not just popular, but they also create a profound philosophical experience, translating people’s familiarity with nature. In fact, it is the closest thing in Finland that can describe desert hot conditions. It is a synonym of social bonding as well as a private spiritual meditation: a place of both physical and spiritual metamorphosis. The installation embraces natural light and shade, guiding people through the round-shaped structure to a steam room, away from the harsh exterior conditions. Visitors are lead to the middle of the space, where an atrium offers a shaded and relaxing oasis.

Steam of Life . Image Courtesy of Sauna On Fire And JKMM Architects

“The sauna is a place to free the mind and think afresh – a place for metamorphoses - but we wanted to take this a step further by bringing a sauna into the desert and to Black Rock City. Like so many, we think the nature of leadership is in transition, requiring its own metamorphosis. I am inspired by how Burning Man will enable us to rethink the processes of management especially as my own expertise in this area comes from traditional organizations with a more conventional understanding of hierarchy. Instead of this, I want to open up my eyes and mind and learn how co-creation by people with different backgrounds and voluntarily picked responsibilities enables a process that brings forth talent more effectively and leads towards much more creative and exciting results than what is usually possible.” -- Samppa Lappalainen, Architect and CEO at JKMM.

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Cite: Christele Harrouk. "An Ornamental Shade and a Desert Sauna for Burning Man 2019" 16 Aug 2019. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

Steam of Life . Image Courtesy of Sauna On Fire And JKMM Architects


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