Golden Egg Sauna Warms Up Sweden’s Northernmost Town

Imagine sitting in a sauna…that’s inside a giant golden egg?Imagine sitting in a sauna…that’s inside a giant golden egg? Design duo Bigert & Bergstrom have unveiled the SOLAR EGG, a public sauna art installation, as part of an urban transformation project by developer Riksbyggen for the city of Kiruna, Sweden.

The sauna draws it’s inspiration from Kiruna’s Arctic climate, where light conditions change with the seasons from 24-hour winter darkness to round-the-clock midsummer sun. The egg shape seeks to symbolise rebirth and new opportunities at the start of Kiruna’s urban transformation, a project that involves the relocation of entire city districts in response to ground subsidence caused by decades of iron ore mining. Made of stainless golden mirror sheeting and set amidst the snow-draped hills of Kiruna, Sweden’s northernmost town, the saune also doubles as a meeting place for the locals to discuss the radical changes that face the city.

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. Standing five metres high and four metres wide, the sauna consists of 69 separate pieces. The whole installation can be taken down and moved to different locations within the city.

“Saunas are places that fascinate. When Riksbyggen asked us to interpret Kiruna, we felt it was natural to explore a space that unites and encourages conversation,” Mats Bigert and Lars Bergström stated. “Saunas are sacrosanct places where you can discuss all manner of things – from the big to the small.”

All images by Jean-Baptiste Béranger