Solar Egg: Ovoid Sauna by Bigert & Bergström
Architect: Bigert & Bergström
Location: Kiruna (SE)
A public sauna/art installation for the city and its residents is dedicated to the urban transformation project in Kiruna. Entire neighbourhoods have to be relocated because of ground subsidence from decades of iron-ore mining.
Moreover, the oval sauna by renowned artists Mats Bigertand and Lars Bergström was inspired by the harsh Arctic climate of the Swedish city of Kiruna. In this project, the artists address not only the cold, but also the extreme light conditions in the area, which is ruled by six months of polar night followed by six months of midnight sun.
The small structure, five metres high and four metres wide, has a shell of gilded stainless steel that reflects the city and the surrounding landscape. A heart-shaped wood stove inside provides enough warmth. The sauna is made of 69 individual pieces that have been assembled; it can be moved to various locations in the city. For a long time, Bigert & Bergström have had a fascination for the relationship between people and nature, energy and technology. In 1998, they designed a climate chamber for the World Exposition in Lisbon; their creation earned them international recognition. The installation in Kiruna plays the role of an artistic catalyst: the oval edifice symbolizes the allegiance of the people making a new beginning in the city.