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. Riksbyggen is an urban developer and the first to build new apartments in the new Kiruna.
In response to a commission from Riksbyggen, Bigert & Bergström have created a sculptural chamber in the form of an egg-shaped sauna that has just been installed at Luossabacken in Kiruna, Sweden’s northernmost town.
Kiruna is currently undergoing a radical transformation, which involves a gigantic move for the whole town. This is so that the mining company LKAB can extract more of the iron seam that cuts diagonally downwards beneath the town. The iron ore is and has been – ever since it first began to be extracted at the end of the 19th century – an important source of income for Sweden, and absolutely vital for the town of Kiruna. No mine, no town. But the breaking up and devastating transformation of the landscape, the environment and the architecture caused by the move are also sparking a lot of debate. Solar Egg has been made as a social sculpture where local people and visitors to the town can meet and, for instance, discuss these challenges. In the arctic climate of Lapland the sauna occupies a key position, as a room for warmth and reflection. B&B have taken up this tradition and developed a sculptural symbol that prompts thoughts of rebirth and an incubator that nurtures conversation and exchanges of ideas. The project is a continuation of the artists strategy to incorporate the climate into the experience of the artwork which was initiated with the Climate Chambers in 1994.
The egg is made out of stainless golden mirror sheeting, its multifaceted form breaking up the surroundings that it reflects into a multiplicity of different mirror images. Landscape, mine, town, sky, sun and snow are here combined into a fragmented image that can evoke associations with the complexity spanned by today’s discussion about climate and sustainable community development. The egg’s interior has been formed out of wood, with the wall panels and floor decking made out of pine and the bench of aspen. In the centre of the egg stand the wood-heated, heart-shaped sauna stove made out of iron and stone. The temperature inside the egg varies between 75° and 85° Celsius.
Solar Egg, 2017
Stainless steel mirrors with titanium gold color coating,
steel, stone, wood, brass, glass, LED’s, solar panels,
588 x 567 x 455 cm
Architects: Bigert & Bergström
Location: Kiruna, Sweden
Area: 20.0 m2
Project Year: 2017