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A Swedish Solar Sauna

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As the days get shorter and the cold starts to bite, there are few things more pleasurable than the warmth of a sauna. In Sweden, Bigert & Bergström have created the Solar Egg, a golden orb that is a public sauna and art installation.

Opened in Kiruna, this golden egg draws inspiration from the local climate — where winter brings round-the-clock darkness. This project is part of a wider urban development effort in the area and was created for a town that was entirely relocated due to contamination from an iron ore plant. Standing at around 5 meters tall, the Solar Egg is a wood-burning sauna that can seat up to 8 people. Its golden panels reflect multiple versions of the snowscape that surrounds it. As Bigert & Bergström explain, “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 Bigert & Bergstöm’s commitment to incorporating climate into the experience of an artwork. Since 1980, the artistic pair has created large-scale installations to public works, sculptures and film projects. Often with a conceptual edge, the core of their work is placed at the intersection of humanity, nature, and technology.

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All images © Jean-Baptiste Béranger for Bigert & Bergström