But it would take a highly-unique, out-of-this-world sauna to make a trek around the world, up to the Arctic circle, worth it for the sake of one schvitz.
And that sauna is the Solar Egg.
Located in a small town of Kiruna in the northern Lapland area of Sweden (that’s where reindeer and Santa Claus live), the golden Solar Egg sauna sits in the middle of the arctic chill, glowing as a beacon of warmth for both visitors and locals.
The brainchild of Swedish design duo Bigert & Bergström, consisting of Mats Bigert and Lars Bergström, Solar Egg was created not only to sweat out the toxins and renew, but as a symbol of identity for the small town.
Bigert & Bergström were commissioned by Swedish developer Riksbyggen to design Solar Egg as a commemorative social sculpture for the residents of Kiruna, who were collectively displaced eastward of their home. With the entire city relocated, mining could continue for another 20-some years.
The installation has sparked a heated debate (no pun intended) about the impacts large-scale mining has taken on Kiruna.
“When Riksbyggen asked us to interpret Kiruna, we felt it was natural to explore a space that unites and encourages conversation,” said Bigert. “Saunas are sacrosanct places where you can discuss all manner of things – from the big to the small.”
The duo created this setting with a 16.4-foot-tall and 13-foot-wide geometric egg, encased by a shell of 69 separate pieces of gold-plated stainless steel. The mirrored surface of these panels reflects the landscape of Kiruna back onto itself, and yet boldly stand out against the vast and icy surrounding.
The affect truly is otherworldly.
To get inside, a drop staircase lowers from an opening in the side, outlined with jagged cracks as opposed to a linear door. The oval sauna features arching rows of light aspen wood, while the wall panels and floor are made from pine.
The stove takes property in the center of the room, where the wood-fired burner is molded in the shape of an anatomical heart. Heat eminates from the fill of large stones
Bigert & Bergström also designed Solar Egg to be transportable. Each piece can be taken apart and relocated within the city.
Solar Egg is spacious enough for eight people.
We’re fixin’ to make ourselves a part of that hatch soon, as joining this communal sweat is a way to experience an iconic installation by Bigert & Bergström, and listen and take part in the larger conversation.