Bigert & Bergström just unveiled the Solar Egg, a giant golden sauna located in the town of Luossabacken, Sweden. Commissioned for for Riksbyggen, an interesting co-operative economic association, the golden egg concept was hatched for the country’s northernmost town to provide residents with a toasty meeting place deep in the snow-covered landscape.
The mining town of Kiruna is currently facing radical changes; the entire city is moving so that a mining company can extract more iron from underneath its landscape. Mining has been an essential part of the isolated town since the 19th century and the industry is vital to its existence. However, many are debating this dependence on iron mining – especially granted its impact on the environment and the town’s well-being. This issue inspired the Swedish designers from Bigert & Bergström to create the Solar Egg as a warm social meeting place where residents can debate the town’s future, or as they put it, “prompt thoughts of rebirth.”
The Solar Egg is made of stainless mirror sheeting that contrasts with the snowy landscape. The shimmering panels reflect and break up the surroundings into mirrored fragmented images – a design feature meant to represent the complexities that come with “heated” debates about climate change and sustainable living.
The egg’s interior walls are clad in honeycomb wood panels that give the egg its pod-like shape. LED lighting illuminates the interior, and a large wood-heated, heart-shaped sauna stove made out of iron and stone sits in the middle of the space, providing a warm temperature of anywhere between 75° and 85° C.
The Solar Egg is a part of Bigert & Bergström’s strategy to incorporate artwork into climate discussions – an initiative that began with the team’s Climate Chambers project in 1994.
Photography by Jean-Baptiste Béranger