I discovered an entire people who is rebuilding and restoring its culture which has been short-circuited and undermined during long years of occupation. From the landscape to the life of the country, from wood and water to the sauna craft, my line of research has been the social dichotomy between privacy and the sauna practice. Sometimes mystical and always humble towards nature, I learned the importance of paganism in estonian cultural heritage.
I travelled to Estonia in order to meet the craftsmen and people in relation to my research. One of them was film director Martti Helde who accepted to meet me for an open interview. I was especially interested in his vision and opinion of how cinema is linked to landscape. But also to go further and talk about the role of cinema today as a modern craft, thereby discussing the classical meaning and purpose of craftsmanship.
Field research gave me the chance to gather sensitive knowledge and first-hand information. This trip was about being curious and efficient in time. To understand the different appreciations of the stranger I was and to adapt to the folk from various parts of Estonia was a real step forward in terms of my design ethic: how am I able to interact with my research topics?
The idea of the Smoke machine is born from the study of a very specific heritage in Setomaa county, called the smoke sauna. Inspired by the layout of the rooms and its technical functioning but also by the poetic intimacy the body experiences inside the sauna, I transposed these social interactions to create a new treatment for the source material of my research: wood.
The wood treatment achieved with the Smoke machine has two important qualities. First, it naturally coats the wood, it is drier and has a unique polished touch and look. Indeed the slow effect in the wood fibers of both condensation and strong heat brings out its resin. Secondly, it allows a personalized sensorial product. The color variations created can be regulated by changing different parameters. By choosing the placement, heat level and the combustible, it is possible to achieve a color gradient and a specific smell.
Depending on the size of the smoke machine, the possibilities are to smoke finished wood pieces or pieces to be later assembled to form one product.