Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Carve out Your Niche at a Winter Wonderland; SWEDEN Each Year, Icehotel Is Created Anew for Guests ... Then Melts Away. Helen Coffey Sees How Cool It Is

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Carve out Your Niche at a Winter Wonderland; SWEDEN Each Year, Icehotel Is Created Anew for Guests ... Then Melts Away. Helen Coffey Sees How Cool It Is

Article excerpt

IT'S MINUS five but I'm dripping with sweat as I chip, chip, chip away at my clear block a cube that is (hopefully) looking more and more like a bird as time ticks by. I never expected to enjoy ice sculpting it seemed a bit too much like the "organised craft" activities associated with hen-dos but it turns out to be immersive, pulling me into a vortex of concentration in which I manage to work unbroken for several hours. Time melts and my busy brain quiets to silence the epitome of mindfulness.

My hard graft results in something definitely reminiscent of a majestic owl head but hits home the sheer difficulty of creating a recognisable object. And it gives me a new appreciation for those who've used snow and ice to fashion not just sculptures but entire hotel rooms.

I'm staying at Icehotel in Jukkasjarvi, Swedish Lapland in fact, the venue's 29th incarnation. The whole thing is made anew each year, with rooms constructed from scratch in just two weeks before they melt back into the Torne river come spring.

This season there are 15 temporary "art suites" created by teams from all over the world, each unique and only available to stay in until March. Making a room is a prestigious CV credit so it's a competitive business designs were selected out of about 140 entries.

"It was amazing to get the news that we'd been selected," says Jonathan Paul Green who, with daughter Marnie, came up with one of 2019's winning designs.

The London pair entered after watching a documentary about the making of the hotel. A TV set designer and art student respectively, Jonathan, 53, and Marnie, 19, had never worked with ice before something you'd never suspect when looking around their underwaterthemed suite, The Living Ocean, which features ethereal, glowing fish, a grinning shark and undulating coral sculptures. …

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