Solar Egg
2017

In response to a commission from Riksbyggen, Bigert & Bergström have created a sculptural chamber in the form of an egg-shaped sauna that has been installed at Luossabacken in Kiruna, Sweden’s northernmost town.

Kiruna is currently undergoing a radical transformation, which involves a gigantic move for the whole town. This is so that the mining company LKAB can extract more of the iron seam that cuts diagonally downwards beneath the town. The iron ore is and has been – ever since it first began to be extracted at the end of the 19th century – an important source of income for Sweden, and absolutely vital for the town of Kiruna. No mine, no town. But the breaking up and devastating transformation of the landscape, the environment and the architecture caused by the move are also sparking a lot of debate.

Solar Egg has been made as a social sculpture where local people and visitors to the town can meet and, for instance, discuss these challenges. 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. The project is a continuation of the artists strategy to incorporate the climate into the experience of the artwork which was initiated with the Climate Chambers in 1994.

3D printed model. Photo: Jean-Baptiste Béranger
Assembling the facets of the egg in Hangmen's workshop. Photo: Jean-Baptiste Béranger

The egg is made out of stainless golden mirror sheeting, its multifaceted form breaking up the surroundings that it reflects into a multiplicity of different mirror images. Landscape, mine, town, sky, sun and snow are here combined into a fragmented image that can evoke associations with the complexity spanned by today’s discussion about climate and sustainable community development.

The egg’s interior has been formed out of wood, with the wall panels and floor decking made out of pine and the bench of aspen. In the center of the egg stand the wood-heated, heart-shaped sauna stove made out of iron and stone. The temperature inside the egg varies between 75° and 85° Celsius.

 

"Solar Egg," 2017
Stainless steel mirrors with titanium gold color 
coating, steel, stone, wood, brass, glass, LED’s, 
solar panels, batteries, rubber, 588 x 567 x 455 cm

Production
Artists: Bigert & Bergström
Commissioner, Riksbyggen: Mathias Sandberg
Project management, communication and graphic design: Futurniture
Construction and drawings: Lars Hässler
Construction and installation: Hangmen AB
Welding of the heart-shaped hearth/fireplace: Zoltan Schnierer
LED lighting and solar panels: Ljusdesign AB
Illustration by Johan Mets
Interior with the iron stove. Photo: Jean-Baptiste Béranger
Illustration by Johan Mets
Interior. Photo: Jean-Baptiste Béranger
Computer model by the engineer Lars Hässler
Artists's sketch

Tour of Solar Egg

 

Kiruna
April 2017

Solar Egg  was created to stand on Mount Luossavaara outside Kiruna.

Photos: Jean-Baptiste Béranger
Bigert & Bergström next to the newly erected "Solar Egg."

Björkliden
June 2017

During the summer of 2017, Solar Egg was moved further out onto the mountains of Lappland, to Abisko and Björkliden.

Photos: Jean-Baptiste Béranger

Paris
November 2017

The Swedish Institute in Paris is situated in the Marais Quarter, in the Hôtel de Marle from the seventeenth century. Within the framework of the project Swedish Design Moves Paris, Solar Egg was exhibited in the courtyard of the Swedish Institute from 15 November to 10 December 2017. As a new layer to the project, the Swedish fashion designer Diana Orving has designed kimonos for visitors to use while taking a sauna in the egg.

Photos: Jean-Baptiste Béranger
"Solar Egg" in Paris, video documentation

Stockholm
January 2018

In Stockholm’s archipelago lies the art institution Artipelag, where Bigert & Bergström presented their exhibition Eye of the Storm in the winter of 2017-2018. Solar Egg was placed in the institution’s park.

Photos: Samuel Lind

Gällivare
June 2018

Gällivare is Lappland’s second-most important mining town and similarly to Kiruna, historical parts of the town have to be moved due to mining. Up to 5 000 people’s homes have to be demolished and the unsafe area closed off. In the summer of 2018, Solar Egg was placed in the town park next to the river.

Photos: Jean-Baptiste Béranger

Copenhagen
September 2018

Kunsthal Charlottenborg is one of Denmark’s leading museums for contemporary art. It is situated in Kunstakademins historical buildings close to Nyhavn and Kongens Nytorv. Solar Egg was displayed in the museum’s courtyard throughout the fall of 2018.

Photos: Jean-Baptiste Béranger

Minneapolis
March 2019

From March 6 to April 28, 2019, Solar Egg was temporarily resided in the courtyard the American Swedish Institute, Minneapolis.

Photo: Studio Bigert & Bergström

Rättvik
June 2019

Between June and August 2019, Solar Egg was placed at Siljan beach in Rättvik, Sweden.

Photos: Jean-Baptiste Béranger