Legacy of the River _ Extreme-design TV

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Day Thirteen

We have completely finished now, and have had the day to relax, take some photos and really have some fun.

Tomorrow Ian heads back to Shanghai and the camera crew Vegas and Linus head back to Stockholm… but not before a bit more Snowmobile action.  We will be fortunate enough to be joined by British film director Marcus Dillistone who will be catching the action out on the river Trone.

Today we really ahd a chance to let our hair down and see what our fellow designers are upto.  We were also fortunate enough to have some interview time with the Ice Hotels Artistic director Arne

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Day twelve – The Finish

We have now completed the suite: ‘Legacy of The River’ Follow the build on You Tube

It has been a tough twelve days but a thoroughly rewarding one.  Please continue to follow the blog, we are here for the next few days shooting a pilot show for a forthcoming series on extreme design.

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Day Eleven

We had a late start today due to the celebrations for the  season’s ‘kick off’ last night which saw the entire ice hotel staff at a local place near Jukkasjärvihaving a great meal, a great band but some shocking dancing ! Haha!

Temperature is back down to -22c which is good for the completion of the build, the snow is of good quality and has helped with the finishing ‘Snis-ing’. We have very nearly finished now, with just some details to complete in the entrance.  We also had a moment today to reflect on what we’ve achieved in almost unheard of time.  A suite consisting of over 60 square metres of 100mm thick ice, that’s almost six tonnes.  160 linear metres of electroluminescent wire, routed out, sandwiched and then ‘snised’.  As well as complex geometric forms which are hard to achieve in a very organic material.

We will spend tomorrow getting some photography of the completed suite.  And will post the final shots then.

It was a big breakthrough to get the bed in place, reindeer skins et al

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Day Ten

It was our day off today, and feels like a much deserved one.  With that in mind we were up early enough (we thought ) to miss the bus to ES-Range the Swedish Space Corporation, where missiles and balloons are launched into sub-orbit.

Having missed the bus we managed to procure a knackered Volvo with which we hooned through the forest to catch up with our tour.  Whilst there we were quite taken aback; like a scene from thunderbirds, albeit a dated thunderbirds; the equipment hasn’t changed since the sixties, but then it doesn’t need to, one big red button is enough!

We spent some of the afternoon touring the wilderness on snow-mobiles.  It was huge fun but a little cold, zipping along at 87kph at -17 the wind chill picks up a tad, so we were careful to watch for frostbite on the face!

We had some time to work on the room, but are now about to head out ‘on the town’ with the locals for a beer or two.  Not quite an early celebration of finishing, but well deserved social blitz none the less!

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Day Nine

Another grueling day over with, we made some great progress and finally got rid of the scaffold tower thats been clogging up the suite for the last few days, it feels good to have a clear space to work in !

We are really on the home stretch now, and feel good that we’ve made such huge headway, its almost unheard of here at the ice hotel to finish early, and days early, so we are pleased.  we want to dedicate the time left over to helping out our camera team with getting the very best footage we can.

This evening we were invited to take some traditional swedish drink; Glögg beside a bonfire on the river.  A floating candle lantern was lit in memory of a fellow ice artist Sakai who sadly passed away last year.  It was such a wonderful experience and testament to the intense camaraderie here at the hotel.  Each and every person who contributes is here for the same reason, to put their all into making the ice hotel a truly special place.  This year is the twenty first year, and in the the owners words a celebration of 21 years of “life enriching moments”.  The moment shared on that river as well as the whole experience of being here is truly life enriching.

We are really looking forward to tomorrow, it will be our first day off so we’ll spend it visiting the ES-range; Arctic Sweden’s Space station and home to Richard Bransons Virgin Galactic. In the afternoon we’ll go on snow mobile safari… a real chance to let our hair down, and tear it up through the snow, fun fun fun !

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Day Eight

We woke to the most stunning sky this morning with hues of pink and orange all the way over the River Thorne. Temperatures have risen to just below zero so the snow is much better for creating “Snis” which is a perfect mix of Snow and Ice. Think of the perfect snowball and you’d be about right. This is used for filling in gaps and holes and is then undetectable later on. Too much Ice and it dries grey and looks nasty and not enough water and the snow won’t stick.

Inside the room we have crated the main wall structure behind the table which runs opposite the bed and parallel. We fitted the lights to this part and are ready for the last section which is the table. This needs to be the last item built so we can seal away the transformers and drivers for the electroluminescent lighting. We then dug the level for the inner bed supports and laid the first row of blocks ready to be routed before installation of the lighting.

Progress has felt slow today as energy is running low.  However the meals have been nicer today with a big helping of spaghetti bolognese but maybe having eaten too much it has been hard to motivate ourselves.  We finished with the first layer of the bed surround so we could edit todays photographs and get ready for a few beers to celebrate the departure of one of our fellow ice artists; Maurizio heads back to Italy in the early hours.

We are both feeling happy with progress and we could easily be finished by Sunday about 3 days ahead of time. This is pretty unheard of here but we wanted to break the back of it early to concentrate on the TV footage and get some great interviews of the other artists, workers and directors.

Beer o’clock!

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Day Seven

We had a super slow start today because of our late night last night.  However we have made some great progress by setting in the second ‘skin’ to the right flanking wall, had some fun installing the second ‘skin’ to the rear wall ‘wings’ too.  Big 1500mm x 1000mm x 100mm ice slabs were quite difficult to maneuver and get in place…  thats 150kg of slippery ice on a slippery floor, we have steel toe caps to protect the feet, but when bedding the slabs on top of other slabs its our fingers we really have to be careful of!  We managed to get them in place but broke one of the slabs, the ice can be extremely brittle, if there is a stress fracture then that can tun into a big crack.

One of the amazing things is that the cracks and breaks add to the beauty of this unique natural material.  Unlike any other man-made material it is so fast to work with, it sounds incredible working against it with sharp tools, and no two pieces are the same.

Tomorrow we will be setting out the bed, but for now its a chill out night with a DVD and a glass of wine or two.

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Day Six

Day six and the wear of hard work in harsh conditions is really setting in.  Moral is high though as we completed a large wall section with great ease… now that we have the right techniques perfected we can work alot faster.

We lost power to the suite for some hours which made working difficult and dangerous.

As ever we witnessed some of the most beautiful sunrises and sunsets, but without actually seeing the sun.  The sun is so low in the sky it hardly lifts above the horizon !

Day six part two:

Its 03:24 am, we’ve just come in from the cold to having completed a truly grueling day.  We were desperate to finish the lighting on the right flank today, and did so! It looks great, so we are really happy.  It has been the longest day yet at 19.5 hrs, we will sleep well and have a very slow start tomorrow !

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Day Five


We started the day early with a roof top wander to catch the beautiful sunrise. We did not last long however as the windchill off the Throne river was punishing, high risk of frostbite on the extremities up there. However it was great to have a bit of chill out time, and time to reflect on the beautiful surroundings we’ve found ourselves in.

We made huge progress in the suite by completing the seating and the back wall’s lighting, a big move. But momentum is waning slightly, five grueling days working at sub 20 degree temperatures really takes it out on the body.

So glad to have the suite clearer, as we don’t have to move equipment and ice slabs around so much, which slows the process down so much! Tomorrow the right flanking wall !

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