Nestled into the sparse subarctic slopes of Kiruna, Sweden’s northernmost town, is an unexpected delight: a large golden egg.
More accurately, the five metres high and four metres wide ovoid structure is a sauna and public art installation, designed by Swedish art duo Bigert & Bergström and commissioned by local housing cooperative Riksbyggen. As the town embarks on a relocation project—Kiruna must move about three kilometres east, since it currently sits on unstable ground above the world’s largest iron ore mine—the sauna or Solar Egg is meant to symbolize rebirth and new opportunities.
“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.”
With a gold-plated, stainless mirror sheeting shell, the Solar Egg reflects a multifaceted picture of the surrounding landscape. Inside, up to eight people can bask in 75° to 85° Celsius heat courtesy of a wood-burning iron stove cast in the shape of a heart (think anatomical, not Valentine’s Day).
As a design gem, a community gathering place and a spectacular sauna, this cozy capsule is most certainly a good egg.
Photos by Jean-Baptiste Béranger.
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