Ice, whether formed by nature or man’s hands, has many amazing properties making it ideal for forming crystalline structures, hard-packed snow sculptures or even sheets of glass. From carved chess pieces to giant icewalls to frozen furniture to ice castles, check out our roundup of shimmering, ephemeral frozen water art.
This graceful and beautiful 14-piece ice sculpture chess set was set up in Midtown Manhattan. Carved by Okamoto Studios, this installation was inspired by the game between Russian chess champion Gary Kasparov and Deep Blue, the IBM computer.
Architecture student Yushiro Okamoto designed and built IceWall; a temporary installation facing the Charles River for MIT’s 150th year anniversary. Flower seeds were frozen into the ice blocks and when spring came, the ice melted and released the seeds into the ground, where they germinated and eventually bloomed,
Environmental artist Nicole Dextras decided to draw attention to vulnerable landscapes by literally displaying the folly of the environmental destruction. She crafted forms out of wood and froze water in the shape of letters to spell out the vulnerability. Her ice words were then photographed on Lake Ontario, the Yukon River, and in downtown Toronto before they melted away with the spring.
Artist Hongtao Zhou wanted to recreate the process of making something but out of a temporary material that would vanish without a trace. On the banks of the Lake Mendota, Wisconsin, the artist crafted a set of furniture—a table and chairs—to demonstrate the temporary state of ice through this ephemeral dining set.
Relying on the power of his home’s geothermal heating system and his adjacent pond, Roger Hanson likes to build amazing ice castles in his yard. Each year he uses water from his pond and his pond-source heat pump to create the perfect conditions to grow these incredible sculptures.
Brent Christensen relies on cold temperatures in Colorado to make his shimmering ice world in Silverthorne. This giant installation is like a winter wonderland, and visitors are welcome to tour the amazing freestanding structure, which relies on no supports except the ice itself.