ICEHOTEL

Art at the ICEHOTEL

Galactic_Frontiers_globe2_Fotograf-Paulina-Holmgren_72dpiAt the design office in Jukkasjärvi, five creative minds are working to bring together ideas, blueprints, artist’s applications and deliveries of ice – and everything else that has to do with art and design at the ICEHOTEL and ICEBAR BY ICEHOTEL. Away from the office, our crew picks up shovels and tools to create ice art for display at home and abroad. The lighting at the ICEHOTEL adds an extra dimension. When light works together with art and design, effects are created that amplify and enhance the expression in the transparent ice and the white snow. The challenges are many: the light source must not produce any heat; it has to find the right angles to reach the desired effects, and the observer should not see the light installation, just experience it. Everything is done on site in close collaboration between the artist and the lighting designer.

Photo by: Paulina Holmgren

Art suites at ICEHOTEL

View from the IceHotelWhen winter is at its darkest and coldest, artists from all over the world arrive in the village of Jukkasjärvi. They come to take part in the shaping of the art exhibition in snow, ice and light that constitutes the ICEHOTEL. This is why the ICEHOTEL is more than just a place to live. It becomes an experience, as it has been since its beginning, over 20 years ago. The Art & Design Group spends the early summer selecting artists from applications submitted. The design criteria are few: the proposal must include a bed and be realizable by using snow and ice as building materials. The current ICEHOTEL edition has 49 participating artists and designers. Some have taken part in earlier versions; others have never seen snow and ice before. Assisting in their creations, a team of experienced artists acts as support throughout the construction process. The feeling when creative expressions converge and take form in these ephemeral materials cannot be put into words. The atmosphere, the warmth and the involvement live on in an enchanted way in the art, leaving no one unaffected. In the crispy winter world around the ICEHOTEL you experience life-enriching moments.

Photo by: Paulina Holmgren

Constructing the ICEHOTEL

View from the IceHotelThe life cycle at the ICEHOTEL follows the natural rhythm of river Torne älv. When the cold arrives in this Arctic wonderland, the river slows down and prepares for its long winter rest. Now, feverish activity starts on the riverbank in Jukkasjärvi – the ICEHOTEL is being reborn. Huge blocks of ice, each weighing two tons, were harvested from the river in March and have been warehoused awaiting the building start. The architectural blueprints were completed in May. In the middle of November, artists from all over the world arrive in Jukkasjärvi to take part in realizing their dreams of the ICEHOTEL. To cast the building, ICEHOTEL produces ‘snice’, a mixture of snow and ice. The snice is hurled onto casting moulds that are removed later. Now it is finally time to move the creativity within the metre-thick walls. The ambition is to use only ice and snow as far as possible in the building of the ICEHOTEL. The basic form in the rooms and corridors is a classical, medieval arched construction, structurally strongest because it is self-supporting. The strength of the vaults is evident in the later melting process; the ICEHOTEL does not collapse but runs gently back into river Torne älv. Room after room is filled with custom-ordered snow and ice in just the right amounts. When the artists arrive, they can start realizing their plans on the spot. Six weeks later it is complete – the ICEHOTEL – a magnificent, mind-blowing achievement. A river has changed its form and become art.

Photo by: Paulina Holmgren

The story of river Torne älv

ICEHOTEL, Jukkasjärvi, konstkatalog 2012/2013.Contemplate river Torne älv as it briefly stops on the riverbank of Jukkasjärvi and allows itself to be transformed. Reflect on river Torne älv as the primordial mother, the source, which every winter lends its water to be turned into a new, magical ICEHOTEL. The idea of fusing ice, art and nightly slumber was born in Jukkasjärvi; in 1990, the first construction took place. The possibilities for development are unlimited. All the while, the ICEHOTEL has remained true to its roots, keeping the river and the subarctic climate intact. Harvest time in Jukkasjärvi is March, when the ice is about 80 cm thick. Many thousands of tons of ice are cut and lifted out of the clean, drinkable water. Thanks to the naturally slow freezing process, the ice is impossible to reproduce: crystal-clear, free from bubbles or cracks. The ice blocks are warehoused for the coming winter in time to build the next ICEHOTEL. Some of the ice will travel to ICEBAR BY ICEHOTEL and to events around the globe. But most of it will return gently to the river when the ICEHOTEL melts in the spring. The encounter of inventive artists and designers with ice merges into an ICEHOTEL that is unique in the world. The art created blossoms for a short while and has to be experienced here and now. Nowhere else do the environmental conditions join with art as in the ICEHOTEL of Jukkasjärvi.

Photo by: Paulina Holmgren