01-08-2017

Solar Egg, a sauna for the urban transformation of Kiruna, Sweden

Jean-Baptiste Béranger,

Lars Bergström, Mats Bigert,

Swedish artists Mats Bigert and Lars Bergström designed SOLAR EGG, an egg-shaped sauna and art installation commemorating the start of the urban transformation of Kiruna, forced to relocate due to the crumbling foundations caused by iron ore mining.



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Solar Egg, a sauna for the urban transformation of Kiruna, Sweden Swedish artists Mats Bigert and Lars Bergström designed SOLAR EGG, an egg-shaped sauna and art installation commemorating the start of the urban transformation of Kiruna, forced to relocate due to the crumbling foundations caused by iron ore mining.


An artwork as unique as its location. SOLAR EGG is a real sauna designed by artistic duo Mats Bigert and Lars Bergström for the developer Riksbyggen appointed to build the first housing projects in Luossabacken as part of the relocation of Kiruna, Sweden's northernmost town.
Kiruna - with a population of 18,000 - was founded as a mining town to serve the largest iron ore mine in Europe and it will have to move quite a distance to the east to avoid the damage and risks caused by fissures from iron ore mining spreading under the town.  The urban project by White Arkitekter is called “Kiruna 4-ever” and involves relocating the whole town, which will be rebuilt in sustainable terms.
This is the background for SOLAR EGG by Mats Bigert and Lars Bergström. The structure consists of 69 separate pieces, making it easy to assemble and demount; it is 5 metres high and 4 metres wide and is covered in stainless steel mirrors with titanium gold color coating, which reflect the landscape and symbolising the sun, that completely disappears during winter. The interior is all timber and is heated by a heart-shaped wood-fired stove. 


This installation has a dual symbolism: saunas are typically used in Scandinavia as community meeting points where people can unwind, relax and share ideas and the egg shape symbolises the sun as a catalyst for creativity, care, hope and togetherness. A clear reference to the intentions of Riksbyggen to boost engagement and drive discussion with Kiruna residents who have a huge, historical enterprise ahead of them.
SOLAR EGG by Mats Bigert and Lars Bergström acts as the messenger of this urban transformation, interpreted artistically with a contemporary language and connected to the local traditions. At the end of the year, the sauna will be demounted and relocated to the Swedish Institute in Paris for “Swedish Designes Moves”.

Christiane Bürklein

Project: Mats Bigert and Lars Bergström
Client: Riksbyggen
Location: Kiruna, Sweden
Year: 2017
Images: Jean-Baptiste Béranger
Find out more: http://www.bigertbergstrom.com/solar-egg-2017