When an idea is born and followed though on, the outcome is always great. Sauna NUUK, which is located in the countryside just outside the city of Hradec Kralove, is exactly the case. It's a place where you can relax and after procedures, you can visit the refreshment room and chat with friends or stay out and watch the stars. Neighbourhood, city, people ... nothing will disturb you to enjoy your peace and tranquillity. Aneta Kohoutová and Natálie Barcalová devised this great idea. These two girls who wanted to do something a little different, so they came up with the idea of sauna NUUK.
When and how did you come up with this project like NUUK?
We were coming up with ideas for our own projects as hares leaping over the meadow ever since what we met each other during Open Air Festival. In the beginning, we were so full of ideas and visions that our meetings always ended with a sigh. We had no money, no time, and no experience. Once we got the opportunity to sign with the call cultural cores this all came to an end. This was rewarded to us because we combined out imaginations and created an image with MS paint. This marked the start of the crazy year of 2016. Our dream finally came true. Which now stands at a blind arm of the Elbe, thus NUUK.
It's great that you're joining strengths, ideas, and making a joint effort. Do you have a really close relationship to a sauna?
Aneta: In the Czech Republic, I did not have a link to it. When I was staying in Scandinavia I learned that saunas serve as a place of community. Otherwise, I admit that here in the Czech Republic I have only made it to the sauna once or twice.
Natália: I went to the sauna in the Czech Republic as well. I started going there when I was a teenager. I realised that sauna is not just a men's issues from antiquity or weird chambers for people who want to miraculously lose weight. For me, this is an ideal place to clear my head. I tried to have a meeting with people there (something like a business meeting), but in each sauna, there is a rule of silence, and saunas are specifically for drying and sweating”. Everything here is somewhat sterile - it's such a shoddy. We want to look like natural-lover but we are afraid of true nature. What I like about NUUK is that our sauna leaves you smelling of wood. It smells authentic.
The authentic smell of wood and being surrounded by nature ... is a step back from the present time. How did you build a sauna by yourself?
In essence, we have had an easy time building our sauna. But the reality was quite different. We wrote to many companies that deal with building saunas and almost none understand us. We also wrote one man - Mr Karel Dyntar. We were most surprised by what he wrote back: "Girls, this is great, terribly I'm rooting for you and I want to be a part of it, so I'm offering you the whole sauna for free.” We were overwhelmed with happy feelings and because of this we still are.
How does the day begin in the sauna?
A day in the sauna begins to operate is by lighting the fire, cleaning and such normal operating things. A day in the sauna for a visitor begins a never-ending wonder. Time for us misses the point, minutes are in the rhythm of the crackling of the wood, and herds of doe. We definitely recommend the beginning of the day in the sauna!
Nowadays there is no space to dream and fulfill or make the wishes came true. But you did it. What is your goal?
Because we do not have small goals, it is difficult to formulate somehow poetically goal. But doing this because we feel it that way. We were missing this kind of place, and we wanted to share it with others. It appeared that there are alternatives to electric stove and cooling pools, that the caravan can become a second home, jump into the Elbe catharsis and a trip to us an unforgettable experience. The goal also doesn’t freeze like water in the river and always bring our visitors new experiences and ideas, just keep pulsing life in Nuuk.
Nuuk as sauna and Nuuk Greenland... is there some continuity, how did you come up with the idea of the name?
Natália: With that Greenland's more coincidence than some kind of plan. When I came back now, looking back, how the name came ashore, I have found some notes from the December when wehad in our head desire of combined in the constellation sauna - in my diary I had a word drawn as three waves(First upside down), and then such a |<. Quest, I concluded that I thought the word was a part of a conversation about the nice sounding and looking. NUUK's spawn is thus hidden in onomatopoeia, waves, dreams, and ultimately, therefore, the combination of letters our names. Greenland's surface until it when I type the words into a search. But I still enjoy it. Each pronounces it a little differently, and everyone gives it a different meaning. Thanks to this we are alittle mysterious and that's good.
To venture into such a project takes a certain dose of courage. Have you always seen the potential, or you have some concerns, and what was your expected response? For whom is actually a sauna NUUK?
At the beginning, we were afraid, that we're doing for a couple of friends and enthusiasts. However, time has shown how much we were wrong. We have found potential in numerous sauna’s community and in people wishful for an unusual experience. if the primary selection takes place on the way, not everyone here hits, not everyone wants to walk or ride a bike, not everyone can go alone in the dark and not fall into the river or into the blues. So we, fortunately, hasn't happened yet, that someone out and gave me lip, that we don't have electricity or drinkable running water, on the contrary, our visitors here run out to clear my head, so they don't mind intimate chiaroscuro oil lamp or dry toilet. This all just belong to our project.
What surprised you most?
We were most surprised that everyone was surprised. We're getting a lot of feedback, that is this unique and amazing project. It's like when you have your recipe for the bundt cake and according to that, you're driving and you find that totally normal, it's just the way it is. Then somebody bites and starts wondering, what is different about it and you don't know because you like that feels normal. And of course, from the reactions of the surroundings, we absolutely enthusiastic. It's a beautiful thing when people just call or write to you only because the want to thank you. Or when they get to be up to the other end of the republic, because they are interested in it. Then I have a feeling that this is it, this is real, what is happening here and now. What has the potential to something change, even for one afternoon.
Sauna is originally from Finland and inherently it belongs to their culture. In 20. century this style has experienced a big boom and all over the Finland saunas have become part of the home and apartments. How are you? Have you tried a sauna in Finland?
Aneta: I studied in Finland for half a year and then I had an internship, so I enjoyed as much as possible.
Natálie: I visited Aneta in Finland, we were there together in one of them. And right there NUUK just peered out from under the icebergs in the lake. Otherwise, I was in a few saunas in Helsinki. It is probably from Finnish sauna adventure all for now.
And what about your sauna NUUK, have you had in the sauna, someone from Finland?
Not yet, but we had a couple of visitors who had an experience from sauna in Scandinavia and they really enjoyed the stay in NUUK.
Everything is beautifully driven and you have a great response. What is your plan for the future?
Winter operation, that the sauna suits is getting a little lumbering. We are sure that we want to keep in this mode, as long as the weather permits. However for the summer, we're going to (or far more we presented) make it in the style of community gardens, dance halls, swimming pools and "cultural hanging-around" for long summer nights by the bonfire.
If all this is working beautifully for the Hradec Králové, don't you thinking that your sauna could perfectly suit to another city? What about expanding the sauna culture?
So far our eyes can not see, but honestly, NUUK is the only one. And is beautiful and happy, where it is right now.
By: Alice Muziková | Edit: Daisy Nichole Ford | Photo: Dita Havránková