Aki Choklat is an international design professional and shoe designer. He has a very deep relationship with Finnish sauna because his grandmother had a public sauna where he spent his childhood. Aki is also a sauna ambassador for Sauna from Finland, meaning he is a spokesperson who is promoting sauna and sometimes breaking cultural barriers around sauna.

He has been living abroad over 20 years. In UK and Italy, he didn’t really come across sauna culture, but in the US, there are a lot of people with Finnish roots that have kept a form of the sauna culture alive. It is rare to have private saunas in the US but there are some public saunas with different roots. The culture is different though; in his gym, men went to sauna with their clothes on to warm up for work out, which is not how you use sauna!

The best way to experience the Finnish sauna is in Finland

Aki says the Finnish sauna experience is unique and good opportunity for export. The best way to experience it though is in Finland. There you can experience diverse types of saunas and especially enjoy pure nature. Some of the best saunas to experience in Finland.

Aki has designed footwear from felt for the brand Lahtiset. It is a very traditional and well-known brand in Finland, updating their traditional slippers into various versions of for example sneakers and boots. Felt slippers are nice to use when coming from sauna or going ice swimming.

As a designer, Aki thinks that there are opportunities in bringing some innovative ideas and design to sauna. Sauna has stayed the same for ages. He says a more modern approach, like in Löyly in Helsinki can also make sauna a bit more approachable than the more traditional and raw experience.

According to Aki the best thing about sauna is the general, blissful sense of wellbeing you get afterwards! See what else Aki had to say about re-designing Finnish sauna:

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