ICELEBRATE – the 25th rendition of ICEHOTEL. All photos Paulina Holmgren.
Rebuilding ICEHOTEL anew every year involves plenty of behind-the-scenes jobs which are key to making this immense art installation of ice and snow possible. Essentials is a tribute to all those carrying out these tasks; the tractor drivers who assist the building team with creating the structure, the wild animals that inspire us with their sole presence and the Torne river of course – the very essence of ICEHOTEL.
In their design, Jens Thoms Ivarsson and Petri Tuominen have drawn inspiration from the contrasts between hard and soft; alongside the cubical seats, and sculptures of animals and tractors, you will also find illuminated pictures that honor everyone who makes ICEHOTEL come to life, year after year. “We wanted to create a reception where you meet our most valuable resource; the people who work day in and day out to make sure that we can create a new hotel every year.”
JENS THOMS IVARSSON is the Head of design of ICEHOTEL and over the years he’s, amongst other things, created an incredible 26 ice bars. He loves working with ice and snow and playing the drums in his band Punk Williams.
PETRI TUOMINEN has done everything from driving the dog sled to organizing ice dinners under the northern lights. When he’s not busy doing that, he plays the guitar in the same band as Jens.
The hotel is turning 25 and it’s celebrated with a boom as this year’s bar appears to have risen out of an enormous ice explosion. The pressure wave has forced sharp blocks of ice through the bar; sending ice and snow splashing up the walls. For the first time, ICEBAR BY ICEHOTEL Jukkasjärvi has been inaugurated in a dome-shaped structure adjacent to the hotel and boasts, aside from an ice bar; lounge sofas and a large dance floor as well:
“For the anniversary, we wanted to create a large bar where there would be enough room for the guests to dance and celebrate.”
VIKTOR TSARSKI comes from Bulgaria. He is an architect but also an artist, and enjoys experimenting with different materials.
MAURIZIO PERRON lives in a village in the Italian Alps and started sculpting at the age of eight. He loves to climb mountains!
Product designer WOUTER BIEGELAAR is from the Netherlands and has created everything from trains and medical equipment to rollercoasters.
When you enter the Hot Type suite, you find yourself midst a printing press. Letter press types, hand- carved in blocks of ice, protrude from the wall on the far side of the room, appearing in print on the opposing wall. John Bark and Charli Kasselbäck both work as graphic designers and are typography enthusiasts:
“This suite is a heart felt celebration of the very art of printing. That magical moment when the types meet a white paper – or as in this case, a wall of ice – and readable words, sentences and texts materialize. Printmaking has a long history and its craft has developed from wooden letterpress types to the present day digital printing technique, but many of the classic fonts remain unchanged. In this suite we have used Baskerville, Bodoni, Akzidenz and Futura – typefaces that have made an impression on our own lives.”
JOHN BARK is an editorial designer from Sweden with clients all over the Nordic countries. When he is not creating a suite at ICEHOTEL, he enjoys downhill skiing.
CHARLI KASSELBÄCK is a graphic designer and illustrator based in Stockholm. He runs a digital design agency and loves spending time sailing or surfing.
Step into the suite and you are transported into the middle of a forest made of ice. This is a tale of a beautiful forest fairy and five men who went to the forest to find her. You can’t see the men in the suite but you can see birds among the trees. Benny Ekman is the storyteller who has singlehandedly created this magnificent fairy tale-like suite:
“I wanted to tell a story about a forest fairy and turn it into art made from ice and snow. As we all know, fairy tales can come true, so enter the suite at your own risk. You may never come out again…”
BENNY EKMAN is an artist and sculptor whose artwork is inspired by Sweden as well as Australia, where he used to live. He has been creating art for ICEHOTEL since his debut in 2005.
Everyone is looking for a place to call home. Markus Lemke and Rolf Nylinder had this in mind when creating their suite, Eniko’s Inn. When you enter the suite, you find yourself inside a giant bell pepper, but you’re not alone – the worm Eniko also lives there.
“Just like ICEHOTEL is home for its guests, the bell pepper is home for Eniko, amongst others. And in the same way that ICEHOTEL melts back and becomes one with nature by the sun rays in spring, the bell pepper crumbles and reunites with the earth over time. The worm has to search for a new bell pepper to call home.”
MARKUS LEMKE lives in north Sweden and is well-accustomed to snowand ice. When he’s not snowboarding, he likes drinking the typically northern boiled coffee, made in a blackened kettle over an open fire.
ROLF NYLINDER is a Swedish artist with a passion for filmmaking and fly fishing, two interests he loves to combine! He also loves to drink coffee in the outdoors.
King, queen, knights, rooks and pawns, all made of ice and snow. The Chess suite is, as the name suggests, inspired by a chess game – so get in there and play! With this suite, the creators want to express that chess is so much more than just a game. It’s a representation of life, two opponents up against each other – good vs. evil, male vs. female, right vs. wrong or ice vs. snow:
“In chess, just as in life, there are certain rules to follow, rules that have been the same since the game of chess was invented. But life changes. Sometimes we are at the bottom and sometimes we are on top. The question is – who wins?”
Argentinian FERNANDO INÇAURGARAT is an artist and an art teacher with a passion for travelling. Creating a suite for ICEHOTEL suits him well, as he works both as a painter and a sculptor.
SOFIA SOL INÇAURGARAT is 19 years old, and this year’s youngest artist at ICEHOTEL. She is studying business but her true love is art and she adores painting.
NADIA INÇAURGARAT is an industrial engineering student. She also works as a graphic designer and has a passion for photography.
Thomas Czajkowski and Eryk Marks are the creators of the Borderland suite. They grew up in the countryside in eastern Poland and their suite is inspired by the local folk art of the region. The carved decorations in the suite derive from the traditional wooden ornaments that decorated the house facades:
“With the Borderland suite, we wanted to celebrate artists who created folk art in the old days, they are often forgotten in the history of art. In this suite, we want to show the villages of our grandparents and take the visitor on a journey back in time to witness the handicrafts of the past.”
TOMASZ CZAJKOWSKI is an interior designer and has designed everything from private homes to the interior of churches. His passion is tango!
ERYK MARKS is a fishing enthusiast and artist whose sculptures and paintings decorate many homes and churches.
The classically beautiful often becomes dull and predictable – it becomes the expected. In the Abject Beauty suite, Julia Gamborg Nielsen and Lotta Lampa have worked with abstract, organic sculptures to create a sense of unpredictable dynamics, excitement and movement in the room. With their abstract and detailed world, they hope to change people’s ideas of what is considered beautiful:
“We wanted to create a world within the world. A world full of patterns and shapes that fill the room and create a captivating scene.”
JULIA GAMBORG NIELSEN is a Swedish designer and artist. Her sculptures are inspired by her upbringing in Africa and Asia.
LOTTA LAMPA is an artist and designer from Kalix, northern Sweden. Her art is influenced by nature, her brother’s garage, and everyday life. She loves driving old cars and playing soccer.
Playing with notions of matter and space, the 7.5 °Rø suite is divided into 12 frames, each leaning against the frame in front at an angle of 7.5 degrees. The gradient creates a spiral-like twist within the room and an illusion of infinity. The artists were inspired by the Danish astronomer Ole Christensen Rømer, who invented a thermometer that measures in Rø units. According to this scale, water turns to ice at 7.5° Rø, a concept that the creators have used here.
“In our suite, we experiment with the power of change. At 7.5° Rø, water turns to ice, and the frames in the room also incline at a 7.5 degree angle. In this suite, the guests will also change state, from being awake to falling asleep.”
ANJA KILIAN is a Stuttgart-based interior architect and textile designer who loves to scout out foreign countries for visual inspiration.
WOLFGANG-A. LÜCHOW is a product designer, based in Stuttgart. He loves sport and design, and when he is not working he likes to go cycling in the forest.
SEBASTIAN SCHELLER is an artist and architect living in Hamburg. He loves to travel and is always on the lookout for new images in extreme climates, such as deserts and glaciers.
With glittering stars in the ceiling and organic patterns on the walls, the White Lullaby suite has a calm and harmonious atmosphere, offering a place to find serenity. “The inspiration for White Lullaby came one night, when we walked through the woods to a lake, back home in Japan. The stars were glittering and we heard the owls hoot in the trees.” Shingo and Natsuki Saito are ice veterans who’ve created suites at ICEHOTEL for many years. The last few years, their daughter travels with them.
NATSUKI SAITO is a designer and architect and is used to working with ice at home in Hokkaido, Japan.
SHINGO SAITO has several years experience of ice sculpting. Back home in Japan, both Natsuki and Shingo work at Lake Shikaribetsu Igloo Village.
Visit the Suite Two as One and be inspired by the moment of perfection that ensues when love strikes. There are two elegant sculptures in the suite that represent a pair of lovers and an abstract sculpture which forms the bed frame, symbolizing the union between the two – the kiss. The bed itself is an interpretation of the moment when the lovers meet, when everything else disappears and the present moment is the only thing that matters.
The creator of the suite is the artist José Carlos Cabello Millán, who works on his own. “Working here is a very special thing. Usually I create one sculpture at a time but here I do several elements that work together and have a connection to each other. It’s about finding a balance, just like in love.”
JOSÉ CARLOS CABELLO MILLÁN is a Spanish sculptor who has participated in more than 30 art symposiums. This is his fifth creation for ICEHOTEL.
What is time? It brings to mind a clock, something mechanical, but time is really abstract. An eternity or a moment. Constantly moving forward and forging changes, yet we don’t always remember that it’s there. When you step in to the Time Piece suite, you find yourself inside a clock – the enormous cogwheels on the far wall, and the floor-to-ceiling clockface opposite.
“The inspiration for this suite came to us when we thought about the concept of time. It is measured in a very mechanical way and yet it is constant, in a very relative way. ICEHOTEL is a proof of this. In time there will only be water left.”
EMMA CURDÉN is an art student who has been dreaming about building a suite at the ICEHOTEL since she first heard about it.
THEODOR FAHLÉN studies art and is always on the lookout for new challenges. He wishes that he could live for a thousand years so he’d have time to learn everything he dreams of.
GABRIELLA BULIN recently finished her art studies. She loves winter and snow, and answers to the nickname “Winter Lady”.
A large candelabra beautifully carved ornaments and a luxurious bedframe of ice are some of the elements in the Rococo luxury suite. For the design, French artists Luc Voisin and Mathieu Brison found inspiration in 17th century Europe, and the result is a fusion of modern day ice sculpting and the decadence of the Baroque period. “The era that is most famous for expressing pleasure and luxury is, without a doubt, the Baroque period and this was our source of inspiration. So don your wig, put on some extra blush and indulge in your very own ice boudoir!”
LUC VOISIN is a landscape architect and interior designer. He runs an art studio in Lyon with Mathieu Brison.
MATHIEU BRISON is an architect and partner in studio “Ateliers Kumquat” together with Luc Voisin.
“During the design process, we have thought about everything from nature’s smallest elements to the fringes of the universe and the beginning of time.” The artists behind this year’s church wanted their design to celebrate the greatness and complexity of nature. The visitor is led into the church through a thick forest. The path through the room is not clear from the outset and you will have to slow down and perhaps even take a few detours to get to where you want to be.
Suddenly, a holy room appears, filled with light and embraced by a peaceful, tall forest. Between the trees, there is lush and vital greenery, ferns slowly unfolding their leaves and a sunflower radiates behind the ceremonial altar. The center of the sunflower strives both clockwise and counter-clockwise, symbolizing eternal love. To add to the spiritual experience, the physical space is accompanied by specially composed music.
DAVID and JOHAN ANDRÉN are brothers and has been collaborating for as long as they can remember. They started out with snow caves in their childhood and have since then continued to work together. In 2013 they founded the architecture office RYMD Arkitektur. They are based in Stockholm but travelnorth every winter for the making of ICEHOTEL. This will be the first snow cave they build that is also a church.
TJÅSA GUSFORS is a multifaceted artist, performing on the music theatre stage as well as creating art work using wood, stone and sand as her materials. She also travels the world performing live ice sculpting and frequently returns to ICEHOTEL for various projects. This is her second ice church.
In Kunza, an ancient language spoken in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile, ”Tolackuntur” means ”to gather”. With beautiful lamps, an elegant champagne table, a discreet lounge area and an elevated bedroom overlooking the room, this was also the inspiration behind one of this year’s luxury suites. Pillars and walls of ice separate the different sections of Tolackuntur, at its far end accessing the private bathroom and sauna.
The Chilean designers wanted to create a comfortable and elegant suite where the guests could relax and enjoy themselves. “This suite is about enjoying the moment; leaning back in the elevated bed overlooking the suite, or enjoying a glass of wine in the sofa.”
JAVIER OPAZO is a sculptor and designer from Chile. He studied in England but now he lives close to the Andes. He loves late night walks and the drink Pisco Sour.
CRISTIAN WINCKLER is an architect originally from Chile. He adores design and home cooked food.
In the 17th century, the Dutch explorer Isaac Massa traveled to Siberia. He was the first European to hear about the now mythical tiger Hu Lin, the King of all the animals in the North, who protects the good powers. In the Tiger Den suite, we protect ourselves from the polar night in a tent, with Hu Lin as our companion.
The suite is created by the Dutch artists Marjolein Vonk and Marinus Vroom. “For several centuries, the tiger, with its cruelty and beauty, has been both feared and admired. The tiger was seen as a god-like creature, so relax and enjoy the suite – Hu Lin will watch over you.”
MARJOLEIN VONK comes from the Netherlands, where she works as an art director and stylist.
MARINUS VROOM is an actor and co-founder of the Dutch theater company Vis à Vis. He has also worked for ICEHOTEL for many years.
In Spring, just as ICEHOTEL melts, nature starts to grow again. Colors and scents return and suddenly nature awakens. The creative duo behind the Spring suite were inspired by spring in their creative process and if you look closely at the carved ice pillars you will see the shape of tree trunks under the ice. Their silhouettes are clearer by each day, as the ice that encloses them gradually retracts, the closer we get to spring.
“Even when it’s cold and freezing around us, spring is always within us. There is a warmth and a longing in our hearts and we wanted to remind the visitors about these spring feelings by taking a piece of spring and moving it into our suite.”
WILFRED STIJGER is a multi-talented artist from the Netherlands. He loves to use his art to inspire other people to open their minds and use their imagination.
EDITH MARIA VAN DE WETERING is an artist that loves to surprise with her art. She has been creating art with sand all over the world.
A shaft of light illuminates the room, drawing focus to the bed. Created by artist Francisco Cortés Zamudio, this suite is inspired by the period of time that is most synonymous with rebirth – the Renaissance. The light and sculptures symbolize the renewal: “The Renaissance period was in many ways a rebirth, from the darkness of the Middle Ages to a more enlightened period, with mankind at the center. This was also reflected in the art world. I think that we are, once again, on the verge of a rebirth, where we will need to care more about the environment and the world around us in a new way. In my suite, the guest and the sculptures become a part of this renaissance.”
FRANCISCO CORTÉS ZAMUDIO is an artist based in Berlin. He works as a painter and loves to play music and enjoy nature somewhere far away from the city.
Inspired by the corbels of Uppsala Cathedral, the creators of the Rays of Vision suite have chosen to work with pillars that narrate and act, becoming an interactive part of the design. Just like sculptures and their “rays of vision” were used during the Middle Ages to tell biblical stories, this suite lets the guest interpret the glances of the sculptures, understanding and becoming part of a bigger context.
“We wanted to illustrate these rays of vision that exist in our everyday lives through pictures sculpted into the pillars. We did this using different gazes, looks and expressions. Gazes that meet or gazes that speak. Curious looks or annoyed looks. Characters who see each other, watch each other or respect each other’s differences.”
LENA KRISTRÖM is a sculptor and has lived in Jukkasjärvi for a few years. She sculpts in a variety of materials, including snow, ice, stone and iron ore from the local area. In her spare time, she enjoys cross-country skiing accompanied by her dog, Rokko.
NINA HEDMAN is a Stockholm-based sculptor and animator, originally from the north of Sweden. She creates art using ice, concrete, and rocks and likes running and gardening in her cottage.
In Prime Mate, artists Ulrika Tallving and Urs Koller wanted to create a suite that illuminates the tropical environment, transporting the guest back to a time when mankind and animals still lived in harmony with each other. In the wild, the orangutan collects leaves every evening for a makeshift bed, so the artists have created a peaceful sanctuary with large leaves covering the walls and enveloping the bed. As you retire among the foliage for a night’s rest, the great apes watch over you.
“We wanted to capture a time when the forest spirits had not yet been destroyed, and the big trees were swaying in the wind. And paradoxically, the crisp air inside the room reminds of a cool early morning in the rain forest.”
URS KOLLER is a sculptor and painter based in Rorschach, Switzerland. He creates art from different materials such as stone, bronze, sand, ice, snow and fire.
ULRIKA TALLVING is a Swedish sculptor and artist. She wants to infuse her art with ideas and challenge the thoughts of others. Apart from ice and snow, she also works with ceramics, scrap metal, textiles and stone.
Siblings Ann-Louice and Hans Abrahamsson have created Polar Night together. “We both enjoy nature and wanted to bring the wilderness into the suite to convey the experience of animals and nature in the polar night. Meeting the predatory animals in their element is quite unusual, even in the north of Sweden, but here you have a chance of meeting both wolf and lynx up close.”
In the Polar Night suite, the visitor can experience the mystery of the polar night alongside the wild animals from northern Sweden. A pack of wolves prowl into the suite from the woods. They approach the lone lynx, lit by the moonlight, on the other side of the room. The drama between the predatory animals unfolds in front of the bed in the suite.
HANS ABRAHAMSSON’S interest for art started at a young age. Since then he has been travelling around the world working with ice, as well as working for ICEHOTEL for many years.
ANN-LOUICE ABRAHAMSSON is a potter and a water color artist. Based in Kiruna, she co-runs a local craft store and spends as much time as she can in the mountains, on foot or on skis.