In Finland, the sauna is a way of life. It is not just a place to ease muscle pain after a hard workout, but a place for relaxing, drinking, and even doing business. That’s why as part of the #nordicmade trip to South By Southwest Interactive, the annual tech festival in Austin, Texas, leading sauna heater manufacturer HARVIA brought a sauna to help tech entrepreneurs get business done the Nordic way.
And not just any old sauna. First brought to life at Burning Man 2016, the Saunabus (#saunabusSXSW) is a retrofitted camper heated with two Harvia sauna stoves: a traditional wood-burning kind and a more modern electric one. The bus is normally parked at Palo Alto, CA, where it nurtures business relationships between Finns and Americans at the Mustakarhu co-working space.
Entprenreneurs and festival-goers alike were invited to enjoy the Finnish sauna hospitality at various parties around the SXSW festival, where it was in high demand after Austin was hit by an unusual bout of rainy weather.
But why are sauna’s such a great place to do business?
Pekka Parnanen, Finnish expatriate now working in Silicon Valley to help Nordic and Baltic companies gain market foothold in the USA, describes the connection between the sauna and entrepreneurs as such:
“At the sauna you are at your purest, together in just a swimsuit (or nothing), enjoying the gentle – and sometimes not so gentle- warmth coming from the sauna stove. It is the perfect place to end the day’s discussions and start agreeing on things, as at the sauna everyone is an equal, sharing in the experience.”
Check out the photos below and catch the SaunaBus at Burning Man 2017 this August.