Each year, Sweden’s ICEHOTEL brings a wide variety of artistic fantasies to life in ice sculpture. This year’s batch of art suites has been announced and promises to be the hotel’s most ambitious year yet from a design and storytelling perspective. If you’re not able to head to Scandinavia this winter to see the ICEHOTEL firsthand, here’s what this year’s creators have in store when the hotel officially opens later this month.
Each year, hundreds of artists from around the world apply to be part of the ICEHOTEL design team. A few winners are selected, and invited to join the construction crew in Jukkasjärvi for November and December. Artists are chosen from a variety of geographic, philosophical and artistic backgrounds. The owners believe that this blending of artistic visions, along with bringing in artists with different levels of experience, is key to the ICEHOTEL’s ongoing innovation. Some of the chosen artists are ICEHOTEL veterans, while others are working in the ice medium for the first time.
This year’s designers include a film director, architects, interior designers, sculptors, a photographer, a visual anthropologist, and professional ice artists. Despite a range of experiences and perspectives, they share one philosophy that was articulated beautifully in a participant’s bio. Each artist “believes in and fully supports the legitimacy of snow and ice as building materials.”
ICEHOTEL 2014 won’t disappoint. The Deluxe by MINI Evolutions suite tells the story of how dwellings have evolved over time, from caves to complex modern hotels. “The suite tells the story of the transformation of an icon and the fascinating evolution of animals and objects that proudly want to become a true MINI.” Impressively, it also features an en suite sauna and bathroom. We too are dying to know if the toilet is actually crafted of ice!
A collection of Northern Lights suites celebrates the iconic Arctic phenomena by recreating the lights as ice art. Guests sleep on beds of ice, nestled in fur, while lights dance overhead. These suites do a wonderful job of blending two of the region’s most distinct features into a memorable experience.
The Art Suites are carved each year by the artists mentioned above. The 2013-2014 themes promise to be diverse and engaging. Proposed art suites range from “It’s Alive” to “Iced Origami” to “Before the Big Bang” to “Pole Dancing.” There’s something for everyone, including basic ice and snow rooms with simpler ice furniture at lower price points.
It’s not just the rooms that are made of ice. It’s the entire hotel. Guests enjoy common areas throughout the hotel with further themed art. Restaurants serve dishes on platters of ice. The ICEHOTEL’s Icebar has spawned a global franchise, with icy bars popping up in cities around the globe. Every aspect of a guests experience is tied together with two things: art and ice.
Winter is a season that causes many to complain and find excuses to stay inside. ICEHOTEL invites guests to embrace the time of year in a different way. Creating a whimsical environment entirely out of ice reminds adults of a time when snow was an invitation to play. ICEHOTEL would be remarkable simply for its artistic innovation and unique use of ice as a medium for storytelling. But what we appreciate the most is the hotel’s ability to inspire guests to view the colder months through a whole new lens and with a sense of playful exploration.