Holy Willy Wonka golden goose egg, Batman! Want to go for a sauna? Come on, you gotta be sore--and cold!--from battling Mr. Freeze and ziplining 700 yards on one arm back to the Batcave!
Even if you're not into saunas, you have to admit Swedish design studio Bigert & Bergstrom's Solar Egg is a showstopper. Made of stainless golden mirror sheeting and set amidst the snow-draped hills of Kiruna, Sweden's northernmost town, the piece looks like a taunting mirage, but is in fact a real, functional place of warmth and relaxation. And, B&B hopes, a pillar of reflection and community for the people of Kiruna.
Developer Riksbyggen commissioned the Solar Egg in response to some major changes Kiruna is facing, namely the breaking up and moving of the town, and the transformation of its landscape, in order to give the local mining company access to more of the iron ore that runs beneath it. The ore has been a major source of income for Sweden, and necessary to the economic survival of Kiruna, since the 19th century. Today's "fractioning" of the land is necessary, but not easy to swallow. As a local sculpture, B&B see the Solar Egg as an incubator--visually with the appeal of the golden egg, tactilely as a sauna that heats and soothes, and intellectually as a place for the townspeople to converse and share ideas.
Inside, the Solar Egg has pine wall panels and flood decking, and benches made of aspen. The central heater fires wood and, made from iron and stone, takes the shape of a human heart.