Like Superdry, ICEHOTEL in Jukkasjärvi, Sweden is driven by inspiration and creativity; something that played a huge role in our decision to choose it as a location for our winter competition.
Located within the Arctic Circle, deep in Sweden’s tundra, you and a friend could win an unparalleled ICEHOTEL experience with activities such as the chance to ride on a snowmobile, trying your hand (or chainsaw) at ice sculpting and the potential to see the breathtaking aerial light show that make up the Northern Lights.
And of course, who would forget the hotel itself.
We were lucky enough to secure an interview with Arne Bergh, the Creative Director of ICEHOTEL and a member of the Art and Design Group at ICEHOTEL since the early 1990s. Arne is one of the major players behind developing the design, architectural and building techniques that have enabled ICEHOTEL in Jukkasjärvi, Sweden to remain best in class.
Superdry asks the questions:
Superdry (SD): “The idea of having a hotel made entirely of ice is pretty out there. Were there initial concerns that the idea might be too unique?”
Arne Bergh (AB): “I would say it is the opposite. Every year, ICEHOTEL is reinvented with a unique look and feel to it and that is what keeps us being innovative and carrying on pushing the boundaries of what can be done with ice and snow.”
SD: “Talk us through the design process. From inception each year, how many people are involved and how long the ICEHOTEL takes to build from conception to fully operational hotel?”
AB: “In March and April we harvest the ice from Torne River that we will need for next year’s ICEHOTEL. 5000 tonnes of ice are stored indoors over summer in minus six degrees Celsius. In October we start building and in November artists arrive from all over the world to build their design concept sketches. About 100 people – artists, builders, light engineers and ICEHOTELs Art & Design Group work intensely over about seven weeks until the ICEHOTEL stands ready to open the doors to its first guests in the beginning of December. It remains open until mid-April when it melts back to the river and we return what we’ve borrowed to Torne.”
SD: “How much ice is used to build ICEHOTEL?”
AB: “1,000 tonnes of Torne river ice and 30,000 cubic meters of “snice” – a blend between snow and ice that we make using Torne river water and snow cannons. It is more solid and stronger than snow but has better insulating properties than ice. The snice is what we use to make the vaults and corridors.”
SD: “Every year completely bespoke rooms are constructed – can you give us a flavour of some of the designs for the hotel this season?”
AB: “Contrasts! We never use a theme for designs at ICEHOTEL – the focus is on using Torne river ice as an art material. This year we have some galactic inspired suites – one with UFOs landing in the Arctic Taiga forest with the Northern Lights sweeping the sky above, and one that looks like the interior of a spaceship. We have one with raindrops and a minimalistic French cubic design. One suite gives the impression you are standing inside the belly of a blue whale. New for this year are the Northern Light suites which are designed in-house by ICEHOTEL artists. They are light installations simulating the Aurora Borealis across the ceiling of the room, so you can lay in bed and look up at the lights.”
SD: “Like a graffiti artist, whose work is notoriously short-lived, is there any sadness that such beautiful and time-consuming designs will melt and vanish after only one season?”
AB: “I don’t see it that way. In my view that is what keeps it interesting, and also it means that you can continue to push yourself and try new ideas – like the northern Light suites this year for example.”
SD: “ICEHOTEL promises an experience like no other. Can you give a flavour of what people staying in ICEHOTEL can expect through the course of their stay?”
AB: “I think the pre-conception people have of what a night in a hotel made of ice and snow might be like is very different to the experience they have once they’re there. What I’m often told is that it is not as cold as people expect, and that the experience is quite surreal because it is so quiet and tranquil in there.”
The competition ends soon; so enter now to be in with a chance of winning this once-in-a-lifetime ICEHOTEL experience!