Polestar is always reaching for the stars to define itself for both its 4x4s and everything it touches. Last summer the company built the ultra-ecological Polestar KOJA tree house. As for cars North Star 2 was awarded Winter EV of the Year 2022 and the company – with Joakim Rydholm, Polestar chief test engineer and rally driver with 25 years of experience – created the Polestar 2 “Arctic Circle” rally car as a one-off showcase.
Polestar Snow Space in Rovaniemi, Finland
Polestar Snow Space now stands in the middle of the Aalto Center building complex in Rovaniemi, just eight kilometers south of the Arctic Circle. It pays tribute to nearby Rovaniemi City Hall, Rovaniemi Library and Lappia Hall, a performing arts and conference venue, all designed by leading Finnish architect and designer Alvar Aalto as part of the city’s reconstruction plan he developed About 90 percent of the buildings in the city were destroyed in 1944 during the Lapland War.
The Polestar Snow Space is like others in the brand’s range of “Spaces” around the world (winner of Most Immersive Brand Home in the Wallpaper* Smart Space Awards 2022), although it’s temporary – open for seven weeks, until February 26, 2023. Customers are invited to view a Polestar car, learn about component options and test drive it at a nearby track while the experience showroom in operation is.
Martin Österberg, Marketing and PR Director at Polestar, explains: “The 12 x 12 x 12 meter cube reflects the shape of the company’s headquarters in Gothenburg, Sweden; White is part of Polestar’s color palette; and the design is minimalist in line with everything else in the Polestar universe.” Inside, one wall is adorned with hand-crafted ice sculptures of a tyre, shock absorbers and brake pads. The Polestar symbol on the roof was hand carved with a chainsaw. The Polestar name and another star symbol are engraved on the outer walls.
A showroom made of snow
A stunning element of this massive structure is its raw material: snow. Clean, circular, local, plentiful and free, snow was ideal. The snow and ice are harvested at the nearby ski resort of Ounasvaara and transported to the site in electric trucks. Once the Snow Space closes, snow and ice return to Ounasvaara to be repurposed as a ski slope in late autumn before enough snow falls in the area for the season.
Entering Snow Space was a physical, emotional and spiritual experience for me. The natural snow structure with white-on-white, straight lines and light effects is reminiscent of a holy realm.
Österberg, who was standing in Snow Space, said: “That’s 3,000 cubic meters of snow. Our in-house architects drew up designs and we asked Frozen Innovations to build it.’ If/when a wall gets dented, he added with a laugh, “just take some snow off the ground, put it where the dent is and fix it. Snow is everywhere.”
Taavi Heikkilä, Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of Frozen Innovations, which plans, designs and executes the world’s largest snow and ice structures, says: “Typically, weather conditions are our biggest challenges. The weather was with us on this project. The sheer size and cube shape were new to us, and we had to put in more work than usual when creating custom shapes.” He adds, “The best feeling comes when you see the happy faces of people at an event like the opening sees.”
The Polestar Snow Space is a precursor to the 15th Rovaniemi Arctic Design Week in March 2023, where the company is a partner. “Polestar and Design Week share common values. We are proud to be a partner,” says Johanna Laune, the brand’s PR and communications manager.
Taina Torvela, Design Manager of Business Rovaniemi and Producer of Rovaniemi Arctic Design Week adds: “The city of Rovaniemi is the world capital of arctic design. Design Week’s mission is to promote sustainability and design for a better future.’
The Arctic is warming four times faster than the Earth’s average. Responsible, sustainable, problem-solving ideas and technologies as well as a clever use of scarce resources are more in demand than ever. The Polestar Snow Space offers a brilliant solution in every respect.
Since it would melt if left standing until spring, the room symbolizes the transience of humans and ecology. Regarding climate change, the question is: How many winters can we build something like this with snow? The Polestar Snow Space seems to be saying the answer is as much in your hands as it is in ours.
pole star snow space Aalto Center, Hallituskatu (opens in new tab)7 96100 Rovaniemi, Finland
January 10 – February 26, 2023
Polestar.com (opens in new tab)