Is there anything better than self-care by the sea? UK-based skincare brand Haeckels is on a mission to reintroduce the local community of Margate Beach to the healing powers of the ocean. The region has a history of ocean-based health remedies and was home to one of the UK’s first sea-bathing hospitals.
The company has built a wood-burning sauna on dreamy Margate Beach, located on the southeast coast of Britain. The idea is to give people more reasons to get outside (even during the colder winter months) while helping users relax and rejuvenate before enjoying the salty seawater just steps away.
To help house the sauna, the company built a “bathing machine” structure using traditional materials. Bathing machines were popular from the 18th to 20th centuries as a beachside place for women to change their clothes before heading into the water. The walls were constructed using wood planks, with oak for the wheels and a steel frame; a retracting awning made of waxed cloth pulls up into a door for privacy and security.
Haeckels founder Dom Bridges got the idea from a trip to the popular Blue Lagoon spa in Iceland, where visitors go to bathe in the warm geothermal water surrounded by freezing temperatures. He found the perfect spot to start the project after discovering Margate, an area that had a rich history of sea bathing during the Victorian era, and began constructing the updated version of a traditional bathing machine with the help of a crowdfunding campaign in 2014. Names of the donors who contributed to the campaign, which raised £30,000 (about $39,000 USD), are laser-engraved onto the side of the structure. Bridges teamed up with local craftspeople from Re-Works Studio and Moosejaw Woodworks to complete the project, with a total of 20 people contributing their unique skills.
Currently, the use of the beach sauna is free of charge to the public, but the company encourages supporters to contribute funds to the project’s Patreon membership platform to help pay for supplies, cleaning, maintenance and rent. Haeckels has also made the bathing machine available for private bookings for group hire or personal treatments.
Images via Haeckels