The 25th incarnation of Sweden's famous Icehotel is open for business. It is part place to stay, and part art project.
The Icehotel is located 200 miles (322 km) north of the Arctic Circle in the village of Jukkasjärvi, and covers an area of 5,500 sq m (59,200 sq ft). In addition to the usual categories for hotel rooms such as super deluxe and deluxe, there area also art suites, Northern Light suites, snow rooms and ice rooms available. Around 35,000 people stay at the hotel every year.
To create the hotel and to make it unique each year, an open call is put out well in advance to gather ideas for new suites and artworks. Around 15 submissions are accepted and around 42 artists, half new and half returning, are employed to create deliver the concepts. Experienced artists are used to create the public areas of the hotel, such as the church and the bar, and a team of lighting designers is employed to interpret and enhance the artworks.
Over 50 individuals help to build the hotel, with construction taking place for eight weeks from October through December. According to the Icehotel administration, 2,500 blocks of ice each weighing about 1.8 tons (1.6 tonnes) are harvested from the Torne River and are used to build the hotel. A total of 5,000 tons (4536 tonnes) of ice is said to be harvested between March and April and is kept in cold storage until construction begins. Once completed, it is open from December through April, when it begins to melt.
You can see some photos of this year's Icehotel in our gallery.