The Solar Egg by Bigert & Bergstrom (B&B) is a public art installation and sauna in Kiruna, Sweden. The gold plated egg is part of an urban transformation project commissioned by developer Riksbyggen. Kiruna is going through some monumental transformations, which will allow for the mining company LKAB to extract the area’s most crucial resource, iron ore, beneath the town.
The resource has been Sweden’s most lucrative natural resource since the end of the 19th century. But, its extraction has raised some debate within the community, which led to the creation of the Solar Egg. The golden egg provides a unique space for small groups to meet up and “discuss challenges.”
There are real and impactful consequences from mining to both the community and the lush Kiruna landscape. The new town plan will allow mining to continue for two more decades but will force the entire town to be relocated. The “social sculpture” as B&B explains, is a place for conversation and warmth.
“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.”
These issues, economy versus ecology are complex and that complexity is showcased in the egg’s design. Interestingly, the designers chose a reflective material, stainless steel mirrors with titanium gold color coating, to reflect the sky, the town, the snow, even the mine.
The egg accommodates eight people at a time and consists of 69 individual pieces that can be separated, allowing the piece to be transportable. The interior is enveloped in pinewood, exuding the warmth within. The centerpiece of the egg contains a wood-heated sauna stove made of iron and stone. The 16-foot structure can be accessed by hidden pull down golden steps.
The town’s golden egg reflects what it has to offer, a lucrative natural resource but at what cost?
Photography © Jean-Baptiste Béranger
DISCLAIMER: The following project does not feature Alucobond® aluminum composite material (ACM). The “Industry (Architecture)” section of our blog focuses on extraordinary architectural works from around the world. While this project does not feature our ACM, we have included comparable samples to what was used in the project above.