The Travels of a Solar Egg

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The Travels of a Solar Egg
Image Bank Sweden /VisitSweden
 

The sauna Solar Egg was created by Riksbyggen together with artistic duo Birgert & Bergström and installed in Kiruna. Since then the sauna has become a global success and taken on a European tour. Now the Egg returns home to Swedish Lapland. To Gällivare.

Riksbyggen’s sauna Solar Egg has been on a tour and become globally famous. The sauna was created by the artists Bigert & Bergström and exhibited for the first time in spring-winter 2017 at Luossavara ski resort in Kiruna. The inspiration to the Sun Egg’s shape and function comes from Malmfälten, filled with contrasts and dynamism. After Kiruna the Egg went on to Björkliden and had a splendid view of the midnight sun and the mountain landscape in summer. During autumn 2017 it was taken apart and transported to Paris and an exhibition at the Swedish Institute. The Solar Egg has spent the last months visiting the Swedish capital, at Artipelag, but now the clever sauna is on its way home to Swedish Lapland and Gällivare. During the trip abroad the sauna became a global success.

– I think we’re contacted once a week these days, by various cities all over the world, asking if we can come and exhibit the sauna egg, says Mathias Sandberg at Riksbyggen. During the exhibition at the Swedish Institute in Paris it got a lot of media coverage, of course. Incredible media coverage, in fact. But I think it’s the cool design, more than anything, that interests both journalists and others, he continues.

Its design was created by the duo Bigert & Bergström. The request from Riksbyggen spoke about a “sculptural symbol that inspires thoughts of renaissance”. Perhaps it’s not surprising that the sauna egg ended up in Kiruna first, since the whole town is being reborn. It’s also not surprising that it comes to Gällivare for a visit, as it’s yet another town that’s meant to rise like a phoenix from a cloud of building dust.

– Our exhibition “Swedish design moves Paris” was meant to provide an idea of Swedish design, architecture and fashion that wasn’t just aesthetic, but provided an experience. Solar Egg did that wonderfully, says Linda Williams, the manager of Visit Sweden’s office in Paris.

Gunilla Norén, manager of communications at the Swedish Institute in Paris even says: “The Solar Egg has definitely been added to the image of Sweden abroad”. It’s because of all the media and the visitors the coverage attracted to our exhibition. But it’s also because of the story. It’s not just design for its own sake, the building company Riksbyggen wanted to give something back to the places they work in through the Solar Egg. The Solar Egg concept was something very simple, namely creating a space for communication. Perhaps something that’s lacking in today’s society?”

– The sauna is a fascinating space, say the two artists who created the egg, and continue: in the clean, simple heat of a sauna there’s plenty of room for conversations about subjects big and small.

The Kiruna mountains are not new to them. Among other things we’re reminded of a spectacular installation on top of Kebnekaise in 2015, when they covered the highest peak in Sweden with a blanket to protect it from the heat. Just to see if it was possible to stop the glacier from melting. But Solar Egg is less about geo-engineering and more about focusing on man’s practical use of the sauna as a meeting place.

– Solar Egg is meant to capture the progressive spirit at Malmfälten, says Mathias Sandberg at Riksbyggen. At Riksbyggen we’re proud to be part of the historical move of the two cities Kiruna and Gällivare-Malmberget. The sun and the egg are symbols of starting afresh, being born again, just like the sauna itself is a symbol and a practical function for conversation and community, he continues.

So from Kiruna to Björkliden, on to Paris and Stockholm, and now it’s coming home to Gällivare. Where will it travel next?

– Well, like I said we get plenty of requests, a lot of them actually, from all parts of the world, but at the moment all we’ve decided is that the Solar Egg will stay in Gällivare for a while. Then we’ll see.

Learn more
Solar Egg sauna is created by the artist duo Bigert & Bergström for Riksbyggen. It has been in Kiruna, Björkliden, Paris, Stockholm and is now in Gällivare. Find out more at riksbyggen.se.

 

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