Riksbyggen is commemorating the start of Kiruna’s urban transformation project by opening SOLAR EGG, a public sauna art installation by prizewinning artistic duo Bigert & Bergström, to the city and its inhabitants.
Locals and visitors to Kiruna will this spring be able to enjoy a unique sauna experience in the form of SOLAR EGG, an art installation inspired by the contrasting and dynamic surroundings of Kiruna’s iron ore fields.
SOLAR EGG is an oval sauna created by the internationally renowned artists Mats Bigert and Lars Bergström. It draws inspiration from Kiruna’s Arctic climate, where light conditions change with the seasons from 24-hour winter darkness to round-the- clock midsummer sun.
The egg shape seeks to symbolise rebirth and new opportunities at the start of Kiruna’s urban transformation, a project that involves the relocation of entire city districts in response to ground subsidence caused by decades of iron ore mining.
Mathias Sandberg, Riksbyggen sales and marketing director, says: “As an urban developer, Riksbyggen takes an innovative approach to sustainability and long-term relations with local residents. We want the SOLAR EGG to be an artistic attraction for everyone and a conversation catalyst.”
Standing five metres high and four metres wide, the SOLAR EGG has a shell of gold-plated stainless steel that reflects the city and surrounding countryside. Consisting of 69 separate pieces, the installation can be taken down and moved to different locations within the city. Inside, heat is provided by a heart-shaped wood-fired burner.
“Saunas are places that fascinate. When Riksbyggen asked us to interpret Kiruna, we felt it was natural to explore a space that unites and encourages conversation,” say artists Mats Bigert and Lars Bergström. “Saunas are sacrosanct places where you can discuss all manner of things – from the big to the small.”
The exhibition explores human attempts to control the planet’s weather and temperature. SOLAR EGG shifts that focus to practical use. Riksbyggen’s residential apartments at Luossabacken will be one of the first construction projects of Kiruna’s city transformation and will have views of the Arctic fells.
A housing cooperative owned by its members, Riksbyggen wants to give Kiruna a unique natural and cultural experience that reflects the city’s location and puts people at the forefront.
“SOLAR EGG captures Kiruna’s fantastic spirit and its sauna traditions,” says Mathias Sandberg. “It symbolises the sun as catalyst for creativity, care, hope and togetherness.” Members of the public can book the sauna. Riksbyggen will provide changing facilities, towels and other services in cooperation with Camp Ripan.
A special international stop is planned at the end of the year – SOLAR EGG will be installed temporarily at the Swedish Institute in Paris, Sweden´s only cultural centre abroad, in collaboration with Swedish Design Moves – a governmental initiative to promote Swedish design, architecture and fashion internationally. Source by Bigert & Bergström, photos Courtesy of Futurniture.
Article by Marco Rinaldi