It's the Swedish structure that's reimagining social spaces, and its about to take its unconventional meeting place abroad. Earlier this year, Stockholm-based artist duo Bigert and Bergström revealed the 'Solar Egg', a modal, stainless golden steel, reflective, egg-shaped sauna with a heart-shaped wood burning stove, as based in the town of Kiruna. Now, they're bringing it to Paris.
The Solar Egg will bring the Kiruna-style sauna experience to the French city's Swedish Institute across November 25 and 26, and December 2, 3, 9 and 10. Visitors are encouraged to don their swimmers, stand next to the fire and pretend they're somewhere snowier — and wear designer dressing gowns while they're touring the installation.
As far as interactive art pieces go, it's both acutely beautiful and functional, with stainless golden mirror sheeting reflecting the surrounding scenery. Inside, the sauna's interior is made of pine wood panelling and decks, and aspen benches, with an iron and stone stove in the centre. Temperature varies between 75 and 85 degrees Celsius in the egg.
The striking structure was originally commissioned by Swedish economic and real estate association Riksbyggen as a "social sculpture", according to the artists, providing a communal space for the residents of Kiruna to discuss their town's problems. And, they have a lot to talk about while enjoying a sauna together.
Kiruna is Sweden's northernmost village, with a population of just under 20,000. In 2003, they realised that due to adjacent iron ore mining activity (activity which provides thousands of jobs for locals), the ground beneath the town was becoming unstable. The solution? Move the whole town three kilometres away. The relocation has been underway ever since and will continue to trudge along, piece by piece, for many more decades supported by the government and the mining company responsible.
Like town, like golden egg — which can also obviously be disassembled and relocated. Alas, anyone hoping to see the Solar Egg pop up elsewhere will find themselves disappointed, with the installation due to return to Kiruna after its Paris stint.
By Imogen Baker and Sarah Ward. Images: Riksbyggen and Futurniture.