By Kristi Robinson
‘Arctic Bath’, a floating spa and hotel, will soon dwell in the waters of the Lule River in Harads, Swedish Lapland. Harads, a small village of about 500 people, is located 50km (31 miles) south of the Arctic Circle. Architect Bertil Harström, who has a knack for connecting architecture with nature and who was the creative force behind ‘The UFO’ and ‘The Bird’s Nest’ hotel rooms at the famous Treehotel (also in Harads), teamed up with Designer Johan Kauppi to create the nature-inspired Arctic Bath. Kauppi, an interior architect, has a design studio in Malmö but spends a considerable amount of time working in Lapland. His work is an interdisciplinary mix of interiors, product, furniture, and industrial design.
The Arctic Bath is a spa and hotel built on the Lule River in Härad.
Resembling a large natural dam of piled logs, the spa at the Arctic Bath is Harström and Kauppi’s architectural interpretation of traditional logging practices in the area where trees were felled and floated down river. It’s also a reminder of the importance of protecting forest land amid the development and growth of Sweden today. With sustainable ideals, the designers considered how they could minimize the impact of the spa/hotel on the environment. Given that the area provides an abundant source of wood, they were able to use local materials to build it.
The spa facilities and treatment rooms are contained between the timber walls of the spa, while the cold pool sits in the open air.
Depending on the season, the Arctic Bath either floats or sits frozen in ice. Tethered to the shore by a bridge, the spa building contains a spa treatment room, saunas, a hot bath, a lounge, a restaurant, and a shop. Its circular shape functions almost as a nest to create a sanctuary for relaxing and refreshing. At the heart of the spa is a cold outdoor bath for dipping in, kept chilled at a cool 4 degrees.
The hotel at the Arctic Bath takes the form of 6 separate cabins in the water anchored around the spa building. Designed with Scandinavian style clean lines and modern simplicity, the timber cabins at 25 square meters (270 sq. ft) comfortably accommodate 12 guests. Each hotel cabin is fitted with a wood-burning fireplace and a skylight – a cozy space to witness the mesmerizing dance of the Northern Lights in the winter months, or to stargaze inthe summer.
The much anticipated opening of Arctic Bath is slated for 2018. Open year-round, November to March are always the best months to catch the dazzling phenomenon of the lights.
The interior of the hotel cabin is cozy and warm and provides an ideal place to view the Northern Lights.
All Photos © Arctic Bath AB