An egg-shaped sauna with a golden stainless steel shell, an artwork by Mats Bigert and Lars Bergström, is a symbol of rebirth for the mining town. Watch the video

A Solar Egg, forma in equilibrio nello spazio aperto, si accede tramite una scala

The egg has always been considered as a symbol of rebirth and change. In this case, we think of the transformation of Kiruna, the northernmost town in Sweden, thanks to an artistic sauna project called Solar Egg. The client is the co-operative economic association Riksbyggen and it was created by an artistic duo awarded by the city and its inhabitants, Mats Bigert and Lars Bergström.

All'interno di Solar Egge i sedili in legno sono a semicerchio e il bruciatore ha la forma dell’organo del cuore

Solar Egg is a symbol of new opportunities for the town of Kiruna, which has always been famous for its deposits of ferrous minerals and which is now facing the relocation of entire city districts in response to ground subsidence caused by decades of iron ore mining. It is also characterized by a rigid climate and extreme light conditions, from 24-hour winter darkness to round-the-clock midsummer sun.

The sauna has a gold-plated stainless steel shell and is a symbol of light for the city. The egg is 5 m high and 4 m wide and consists of 69 separate pieces containing a heart-shaped wood-fired burner. The heat that spreads inside the sauna, the cozy environment and the relaxed atmosphere transform the Solar Egg into a kind of sacred place where people talk, exchange views and are encouraged to share their ideas comfortably seating on wooden benches arranged in a semicircle.

Una maquette, usata durante la progettazione, dove si vede il guscio suddiviso in 69 pezzi separati

Kiruna is not the only city hosting this innovative project: its transfer to the Swedish Institute in Paris, the only Swedish cultural center abroad, to Stockholm and Bjorkliden, a hundred kilometers from Kiruna, has already been planned. The sauna can be booked at www.riksbyggen.se/solaregg. [Text Paola Molteni]

Article published in OF ARCH #145/2008