Architecture

Egg-shaped sauna hatches debate in Sweden's far-north

The Solar Egg was designed by Swedish artistic duo Studio Bigert & Bergström
The Solar Egg was designed by Swedish artistic duo Studio Bigert & Bergström
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There's enough room inside the Solar Egg for up to 8 people
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There's enough room inside the Solar Egg for up to 8 people
Access to the Solar Egg is gained by a hatch with integrated wooden steps 
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Access to the Solar Egg is gained by a hatch with integrated wooden steps 
The Solar Egg measures 588 x 567 x 455 cm (231 x 223 x 179-in)
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The Solar Egg measures 588 x 567 x 455 cm (231 x 223 x 179-in)
The Solar Egg's wood-fired stove
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The Solar Egg's wood-fired stove
The Solar Egg's interior reaches temperatures of 85° Celsius (185°F)
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The Solar Egg's interior reaches temperatures of 85° Celsius (185°F)
The Solar Egg's wood-fired stove
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The Solar Egg's wood-fired stove
The Solar Egg is constructed from wood and clad in 69 pieces of stainless steel sheeting with gold coating
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The Solar Egg is constructed from wood and clad in 69 pieces of stainless steel sheeting with gold coating
The Solar Egg is available to book for free
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The Solar Egg is available to book for free
Access to the Solar Egg is gained by a hatch with integrated wooden steps
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Access to the Solar Egg is gained by a hatch with integrated wooden steps
The Solar Egg is currently installed in Kiruna, Sweden’s northernmost town, in Swedish Lapland
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The Solar Egg is currently installed in Kiruna, Sweden’s northernmost town, in Swedish Lapland
The Solar Egg was commissioned by co-op housing association Riksbygge
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The Solar Egg was commissioned by co-op housing association Riksbygge
The Solar Egg was designed by Swedish artistic duo Studio Bigert & Bergström
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The Solar Egg was designed by Swedish artistic duo Studio Bigert & Bergström
Fitting another five people inside the Solar Egg looks like a bit of a squeeze
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Fitting another five people inside the Solar Egg looks like a bit of a squeeze
Making the Solar Egg's heart-shaped sauna stove
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Making the Solar Egg's heart-shaped sauna stove

This particular golden egg wasn't laid by a goose, but was instead designed by Swedish artists Studio Bigert & Bergström for co-op housing association Riksbyggen. It's named the Solar Egg and serves as a novel little sauna, allowing visitors to get their sweat on in Sweden's far-north.

The Solar Egg is installed in Kiruna, Sweden's northernmost town, and will be dismantled and moved around the area regularly. As we previously reported, the town is being relocated due to heavy mining.

Understandably, this is causing some strong feelings and Bigert & Bergström hopes that the sauna will encourage locals to get together and discuss their issues and concerns. The pair don't say so, but its similarity to the famous fable of the Goose That Laid the Golden Eggs is surely by design.

The Solar Egg measures 588 x 567 x 455 cm (231 x 223 x 179-in) and is constructed from wood and clad with 69 pieces of stainless steel gold-colored sheeting. Access is through a hatch with integrated steps, the interior is finished in pine, and the bench is made from aspen. Illumination comes in the form of LED lighting, powered by batteries.

Fitting another five people inside the Solar Egg looks like a bit of a squeeze
Fitting another five people inside the Solar Egg looks like a bit of a squeeze

There's enough room inside the sauna to squeeze up to 8 people. At its center is a wood-fired heart-shaped sauna stove made from iron and stone that enables the interior temperature to reach up to 85° Celsius (185°F).

You can actually book a visit to the Solar Egg if so inclined, maybe to warm up after a stay at the nearby ice hotel. It's free to use, but towels, snacks and bathrobes will set you back 125 SEK (roughly US$14), per person.

Sources: Studio Bigert & Bergström, Riksbyggen

2 comments
ljaques
Beautiful! Methinks the stove is modeled on a human heart, too. And all this costs only $14 for goodies after the $300/night ice hotel, eh? Um, where do they put their clothes? I don't see a closet inside the opening. Do you have to strip in the car, then run bareassnekkid to the sauna?
JokuToinen
It is not a sauna, it is a bastu (sauna in Swedish).