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This sauna, looking like an alien spacecraft, reflects the surrounding countryside

This egg draws inspiration from from the Arctic climate, where light conditions change with the seasons from 24-hour winter darkness to round-the-clock midsummer sun

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Designed by Bigert & Bergström
Photography by Jean-Baptiste Béranger
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.”

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Bigert & Bergström have a longstanding fascination with humanity’s relationship to climate, nature, energy and technology. After gaining international prominence with their climate chamber designed for World Expo in Lisbon in 1998, they have worked across multiple artistic formats – from sculpture and film to performance.
In 2015, Bigert & Bergström covered the peak of Sweden’s highest mountain, Kebnekaise, with an insulating coat to examine whether geo-engineering could help to slow glacial melting. They are currently enjoying considerable exposure in China, where their solo show The Weather War is on show at Shanghai Minsheng Art Museum from March-April 2017. 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.

First published date: 10 May 2017

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