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SWEDEN: Solar-powered refrigeration will be key to the staying-power of what will be the first permanent ice hotel currently under construction in northern Sweden.

While many seasonal ice hotels exist around the world, Icehotel 365 will provide a permanent ice experience with an ice bar, ice gallery and ice suites. With a little help from the sun, it will be open 365 days a year.

Due to open in November, Icehotel 365 is being built in in Jukkasjärvi, 200km north of the Arctic Circle and about 17km from Kiruna, Sweden. It is the brainchild of the founders of IceHotel, the world’s first ice hotel built in 1989. It is rebuilt each year and open between December and April.

Icehotel 365 is designed to offer visitors a long-awaited alternative to the classic wintertime Icehotel: a way of combining their ice experience with dogsledding, the northern lights or a boat trip on the river, beneath the midnight sun.

“We’ll simply be better positioned to meet market demand for both the midnight sun and the northern lights, so we can attract visitors to summer and winter activities north of the Arctic Circle,” says Yngve Bergqvist, founder and creator of Icehotel and Icehotel 365.

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The 2,100m² facility will be filled with ice and snow from the Torne River. With the arrival of winter, it will become a permanent ice experience, and part of the classic Icehotel.

Icehotel 365 will include 9 luxury suites, each with sauna and bathroom, and 11 art suites, all sculptured by selected artists. As well as a large ice bar that serves champagne, and an ice gallery. The elegant design of the new building combines Icehotel’s iconic arched architecture with traditional building methods, ensuring its exterior blends in well with the surroundings.

The temperature will be -5°C (23°F) year round in the new building – and the refrigeration unit that keeps Icehotel 365 cold during the summer runs on energy from a solar cell facility currently under construction at Icehotel. In Jukkasjärvi the summer sun remains above the horizon for 100 consecutive days.

“According to our calculations, Icehotel will reduce its total energy requirements. This is because our solar cells take advantage of the nearly continuous daylight during the summer months. Consequently we’ll be able to produce roughly 75kW from April to September, which gives us an energy surplus that we can use to run our existing buildings, like our restaurants, offices and warm rooms,” says Yngve Bergqvist.

Art exhibition

When Icehotel 365 is completed in November, Icehotel will be the largest permanent art exhibit north of Stockholm. And ice as an expression of impermanent art is the very essence of our operations: the classic Icehotel and the new section will still have a lifecycle where they change form every year.

“Ice has an interesting effect on creativity. Since it’s not a permanent material, people aren’t afraid of testing ideas they otherwise wouldn’t dare to test. It’ll be exciting, a project that challenges the impermanent, at the same time as it places this in contrast to the permanent,” says Arne Bergh, creative advisor at Icehotel.