Japandi style enters the spa world: The new GESA sauna by Gesa Hansen from KLAFS

With the GESA sauna, KLAFS, the world market leader for saunas, once again presents an innovative design statement characterized by exceptional aesthetic appeal and a new homeliness. In developing the design concept for a new interpretation of the Finnish sauna, KLAFS continues its collaboration with renowned designers. The result is a new impression of security. Designed entirely in black and white, with precise lines and two large insulating glass fronts, the new GESA sauna combines Scandinavian coziness with Japanese minimalism to create the Japandi style. This unique sauna with many details previously unknown in sauna construction was created in collaboration with Parisian designer Gesa Hansen.

KLAFS is a source of inspiration for the entire sauna and spa industry and continues to set trends with outstanding design, bold innovations and even unusual ideas. The aesthetic language of form, the sense of proportions and material, and the perception in space – in short, the elegance and beauty of form of a sauna – play a prominent role in the development process at KLAFS. In collaboration with big names from the design scene, such as now with Gesa Hansen, exclusive oases of well-being are created that are second to none. Gesa Hansen studied at the Bauhaus University in Weimar and worked for several renowned offices, including in Japan. After her return, she took over the company of her father Hans Hansen and presented her first collection under the label “The Hansen Family” in 2009. For the GESA sauna project, she specifically sought the expertise of KLAFS.


Exceptionally balanced

The unmistakable character of the GESA sauna manifests itself in its clean lines and intricate craftsmanship. A signature element of this special design concept is the deep black wall panels – inspired by Yakisugi wood. During the traditional manufacturing process from Japan, the wood is first charred and then quenched with cold water. A process reminiscent of taking a sauna itself. The replica of Yakisugi wood adopts this unusual aesthetic. The black look is contrasted by the discreet white wooden surfaces of the benches and the sauna heater's cladding. “The Yakisugi look and the white contrast are completely new, and it took countless hours and a lot of perseverance together with Gesa to make it all happen this way. She passionately brought very special ideas and concepts that define her design style to the development of this sauna,” says KLAFS Managing Director Phillip Rock. Fire and water. Hot and cold. Black and white – with this interplay, a unique space was created in which you not only find the exciting duality, but also your very own balance.


Sauna equipment newly interpreted

The crowning glory in terms of design and wood craftsmanship at the same time belongs to the sauna ceiling with the impressive 3D herringbone pattern, which makes the ceiling look almost sculptural. The pattern is handcrafted at KLAFS in a complex process. This gives the ceiling a meaning all of its own: “For me, the design of the ceiling was particularly important. After all, you often lie in the sauna and look up. The beautiful look now invites you to dream,” explains Gesa Hansen. This further novelty in sauna construction underlines the exclusivity of her concept. The walls also take up the herringbone pattern. The designer also uses large insulating glass fronts that extend across the full width and height of two side walls. This very defining design element gives the sauna its unusual elegance. But the insulating glass front not only impresses with a high degree of visual expanse, it also allows heat to be stored in the cabin for longer and heat loss is lower. This results in reduced energy consumption.

Thanks to the shelving system connected to one of the glass fronts from the outside, the feeling of tranquility, retreat and intimacy draws in despite the generous openness. The shelf was created as a lifestyle library to make room for homely decorative elements. They give the GESA sauna an additional personal touch. By deliberately avoiding solidity and focusing on a filigree, purist look with a clear design language, the GESA sauna is an example of how timeless design works. It can blend in visually in a warm, natural country house just as well as in a modern loft, an old building or a cozy beach house. The cabin emphasizes the homy character in a natural way and creates a special place of well-being, which itself becomes a decorative highlight. Even the hidden technology does not disturb the image or the sauna experience. Here, the focus is clearly on the comfort and personal well-being of the sauna bathers without compromise.


In search of iconic shapes

The search for iconic shapes as well as special color and material combinations was given particular attention during the development of the GESA sauna. Step by step, the designer and KLAFS perfected the concept over several months with many small detailed solutions. The result was a sauna cabin of exceptional quality – a sauna with a handcrafted character, high-quality and individual. For this, the international jury of the Red Dot Design Award 2022 awarded the GESA sauna the prestigious prize in the “Product Design” category for the highest design quality. “We share a soft spot for saunas with Gesa Hansen. What appealed to us most about the collaboration was her distinctive style, her feminine view of sauna design and her uncompromising demands on design. Interior and product design are very closely intertwined to create a true homeliness for oases of tranquility. To consistently pursue and implement this at the highest level of quality down to the smallest detail is the challenge in such a project,” says Phillip Rock.

And Gesa Hansen agrees: “I always wanted to design a sauna. The common high aesthetic standards and enthusiasm for timeless and durable design brought us together. On both sides, the courage, innovative spirit and enthusiasm were there to break completely new ground. We were sure that something unique would emerge from this project – and we succeeded.”


Cozy flair in perfection – with the matching spa collection

The design concept of the GESA sauna is harmoniously rounded off with its own MOLLIS® “GESA” line from KLAFS. The sauna mats and cushions perfect the sauna experience with comfort and cozy flair. Visually, the new creations pick up on the Japandi style and its unique feel-good atmosphere. Typically Japanese, for example, is the shibori batik technique, which creates the characteristic look of the accessories. Here, the fabric is folded and tied in such a way that bright patterns with stripes or circles are created when dyed. The interplay between the indigo blue of the dyeing fabric and the black and white of the sauna creates a harmonious overall picture with exciting aesthetics. But the world of GESA also extends beyond the sauna: Gesa Hansen has designed a spa textile line especially for KLAFS for rest breaks. Snuggle up in the soft-soft bedspread or dip into the matching sauna towel – the designer has developed a stylish fabric pattern that completes the wellness feeling around the GESA sauna. For this, Gesa Hansen takes up the Japanese wave motif and reinterprets it.

The GESA sauna is available in the original design in black and white as well as in the GESA nature sauna version. The latter is equipped with walls made of alder wood with a Yakisugi look and a ceiling made of hemlock. The SUNSET system for discreet and glare-free lighting of the backrest or the Polar starry sky can be selected as additional lighting equipment. In this way, the private oasis can be individually equipped with versatile details and accessories according to personal wishes – for a pure, relaxing and healthy pleasure.


About KLAFS:

KLAFS has been creating places of relaxation for body and soul since 1928. Time and again, the company manages to surprise with groundbreaking innovations – such as the space-saving sauna KLAFS S1, which transforms from the size of a wall cabinet to a fully functional sauna within 20 seconds at the push of a button. Thanks to this innovative strength, KLAFS advanced from what was once a small family business to a global industry leader. Today, more than 800 employees work to meet – and exceed – the ever-increasing demands of customers. From small private sauna rooms to luxurious hotel spas. And they do this all over the world, with expert advice from carefully trained technical consultants and on-site service from experienced teams. As a trendsetter in the sauna, pool and spa industry, KLAFS continuously invests in research and development, for example to further increase the energy efficiency of its products.