Let there be light

André Gulliksen has worked on this year’s reincarnation of ICEBAR by ICEHOTEL Jukkasjärvi, which opened on 7 December. With a background within architectural light displays, stage and studio sets for concerts and TV shows, he first came across ICEBAR by ICEHOTEL in 2009 in Copenhagen.

When Gulliksen works with lighting design for art installations in snow and ice it is all about the use of colors and shades. He tries to enhance the texture and shape of the materials by using a scale of blue and turquoise tones. “It is important not to bring in too many different colours in order to best enhance the ice, as for example pink shades can make the ice look plastic. We take Torne river all over the world, but we always want to stick with the genuine feeling of its origin”.

This year ICEHOTEL for the first time ever presents moving light in ICEBAR by ICEHOTEL, a light setting Gulliksen is responsible for. He says the biggest challenge of the job is about logistics, like where to hide cables and other equipment that shouldn’t be visible. It is an important task to keep track of all the chords that are required and he relies on an experienced team of colleagues and points out that together they can solve most problems that arise.

His first visit to Jukkasjärvi, 200 km north of the Arctic Circle, was two years ago in connection with a project in Istanbul. Though temperatures during November and December when ICEHOTEL is built can drop as low as minus thirty degrees Celsius, he says he is well accustomed to working in cold conditions from spending a few years working in ICEBARs across the world.

On the question what is special about working with ICEHOTEL, Gulliksen replies that there are many reasons, but the foremost one being the people and the ice. “The best thing about working with ICEHOTEL is that you meet so many lovely people. Another thing is that the light and ice is such a power couple and work so well together – the light enhances and captures the shapes of the ice.”

Gulliksen concludes with pointing out that there are other people and companies that are important for his work and ICEHOTEL, with thanks to Traxon Technologies that lent LED lights to ICEHOTEL.

Swedish company InWhite is commissioned to do the overall light installations at ICEHOTEL.