ICEHOTEL to open year-round

In Jukkasjärvi, 200 km north of the Arctic Circle, the midnight sun glows for 100 days and nights without setting. Sweden’s ICEHOTEL reveals plans for a permanent sub-zero ice experience – including bar, art gallery and suites for overnight stays – available 365 days of the year.

Like every winter for the past 26 years, construction of the forth-coming ICEHOTEL is about to take off in Jukkasjärvi, Swedish Lapland. The ice from the Torne River is transformed to art sculptures and architecture that is set to attract thousands of visitors before it melts away in spring. But this winter might be the end of an era.

Ice suites chilled by sunlight
The team behind the hotel announce plans to create a sustainable addition to the iconic ICEHOTEL that covers 1200 square meters and includes some 20 suites, a bar and a gallery. The sketches reveal an architecturally sleek building, combining the hotel’s smooth ceiling arch design with traditional methods and modern sustainable energy. Using the near constant daylight that the region above the Arctic Circle is blessed with through the warmer months of the year, the building is planned to run solely on solar power during the summer months. In winter, the new addition will form part of the classic ICEHOTEL, which is about three times its size. “This ground-breaking initiative lets our guests decide whether they want to combine ICEHOTEL with dog sledding and northern lights, or hiking under the midnight sun. It just lets us meet the desires of our clients in a way whole new way, says ICEHOTEL founder Yngve Bergqvist.”

Annika Fredriksson, CEO of Swedish Lapland Visitors Board points out that ICEHOTEL has been an engine for attracting international visitors to the region from the very start. “They’ve been working hard to innovate new products within their concept and harnessed global attention for years. Investing in this Arctic and unique summer product will boost seasonality and be beneficial to not just ICEHOTEL, but the entire region and attract international visitors in the warmer months of the year, too.”

Letting the ice express ephemeral art is at the heart of the business; the classic ICEHOTEL and the new addition will still have a life cycle whereby it changes guise on a yearly basis. Arne Bergh, artist and creative senior advisor of ICEHOTEL says: “Ice has an interesting effect on creativity – since it’s not permanent it makes you dare trying ideas that you wouldn’t otherwise – it’s very liberating. The idea of a project that marries this transient tradition with a semi-permanent, year-round element is even more exciting!”

Sustainability and solar power experts on board
The idea to create an ice experience available year-round is not new – it’s been brewing in the company for years, but it’s not until recently that technologal advancements in sustainable energy renders it achieveable. Swedish solar power pioneers Solkompaniet are partners in the project: “It’s inspiring and fun to be part of an initiative that takes place well above the Arctic Circle. The midnight sun offers unique conditions for producing electricity using solar power, as it allows us to generate power throughout the night” says Jon Malmsten, advisor general at Solkompaniet.

Architect and sustainable construction design expert Hans Eek is also one of the partners. He’s helped hone the project from idea to the designs that are revealed today. “It really couldn’t be any simpler – we use the physics of Isaac Newton – the same that we normally use to make energy efficient housing that keeps the cold out, only in this project we use it in reverse”, Eek explains.

Could open end of 2016
The new ice experience is projected to open in December 2016, granted the project finds investors to join the partnership. “We’ve created many temporary ice experiences in the past, and we’ve seen an increasing interest for visiting ICEHOTEL not just in winter. Every summer we have international visitors who arrive in Jukkasjärvi and ask us where they can see ICEHOTEL – I look forward to being able to point it out to them!” ends Yngve Bergqvist.

It never gets colder than -5 to -8 C

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