Icehotel – A hotel built of ice and snow

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ICEHOTEL is situated in the village Jukkasjärvi, 200 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle in Sweden. The heart and backbone is the River Torne flowing freely through the unspoilt wilderness. Covered with a meter thick ice layer winter time the river is the source of all our art, architecture and design. The pure water and the steady movement of the river creates the clearest ice possible.

Every year new suites and new art work is created by carefully selected artist. As part of an ongoing endeavor to enhance the overall experience of visiting ICEHOTEL, a collaborative project was initiated this year with the Lighting Laboratory at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Stockholm, in which KTH students contributed to the planning and integration of various lighting installations in and around ICEHOTEL. Including assistance from Svefi Academy, 13 participants from eight countries took part in the program. Working in groups, the designers created a master plan that would take visitors on a “journey from the Earth’s core to the space.” The project was supported by advisors Gerhard Rehm, Willem van der Sluis and Christian Dahlberg.

As soon as winter begins, a team of snow builders, architects, designers and artists from all over the world gather in the little town of Jukkasjärvi far north of the Arctic Circle. Under the direction of the ICEHOTEL Art & Design Group, they create each year’s version of ICEHOTEL.

Process Phases

The moulding begins

The building process starts in mid-November when the snow guns start humming and large clouds of snow start to drift along the Torne River.

The snow is sprayed on huge steel forms and allowed to freeze. After a couple of days, the forms are removed, leaving a maze of free-standing corridors of snow.

Photo Big Ben©

Moulding form. Photo Big Ben©
Photo Big Ben©

The artist Ben Rousseau at work. Photo Big Ben©

Room for creativity

In the corridors, dividing walls are built in order to create rooms and suites. Ice blocks, harvested at springtime from Torne River, are now being transported into the hotel where selected artists from all over the world start creating the art and design of the persihable material.

Some of them are experienced ice artists, some of them have never experienced temperature below sub zero. Experienced or not, each year they create new and unique art and design at ICEHOTEL.

Opens in five phases

To be able to create ICEHOTEL and ensuring its construction; provide support to the artists and setting the lights, the construction is done in five phases. As one section is completed, it opens to visitors and overnight guests, while the other sections are still under construction.

The first phase is completed December 7th and each week thereafter a new section opens, until January 5th when the construction of ICEHOTEL is completed.

Photo Big Ben©

Snow corridor. Photo Big Ben©
Main entrance. Photo Big Ben©

Main entrance. Photo Big Ben©

Extreme engineering

If you are on location during the building phase you can gain a closer insight into the unique requirements that apply when building and creating art and architecture in snow and ice.

As they build ICEHOTEL under the open sky, using the natural materials of the winter season, their time plan and building progress depends on Mother Nature and therefore they ask to make allowances for any deviations from the plan.

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One Response

  1. […] Luxamore wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptCovered with a meter thick ice layer winter time the river is the source of all our art, architecture and design. The pure water and the steady movement of the river creates the clearest ice possible. Every year new suites and new art … […]

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