Chinese ice sculpture event planned for downtown Helsinki
Public Works Committee has approved idea of setting up giant marquee containing 350 tonnes of ice brought from Lapland
A tent the size of a half of a football field with an inside temperature of 8°C below freezing.
Around 350 tonnes of ice transported from Lapland by refrigerated lorries.
Thirty Chinese ice sculptors.
Dozens, perhaps hundreds of ice sculptures.
50,000 paying visitors.
These are some of the statistics related to the planned ice art exhibition on the "Citizens’ Square" (Kansalaistori) between the Helsingin Sanomat office building Sanomatalo and Helsinki’s new Music Centre.
The marquee housing this extravaganza would be erected in November. The making of the sculptures would take a month and the exhibition would be disassembled at the end of March.
On Tuesday evening, the City of Helsinki Public Works Committee approved the idea of setting up the exhibition in Helsinki.
The tent still needs a building permit and an approval from the City Board.
“The committee decided to approve the experiment as it was thought to liven up and bring something new to the downtown area”, explains committee member Tuula Hänninen (SDP).
The exhibition would be organised by a Chinese firm registered in Finland, together with the Savonlinna-based Jäälinna ("Ice Castle") organisation.
“A similar tented show was organised in Berlin two years ago”, explains Tuomo Jantunen, executive director of Jäälinna.
The Chinese sculptors would come from the city of Harbin in the north-east of the country, known as the ice sculpting capital of the world.
A project involving thousands of artists takes place in Harbin each year, in which where an entire city is sculpted of ice.
In Finland, Chinese ice sculptors have previously been involved in the Jäälinna (“Ice Castle”) happening organised in the inner courtyard of the medieval Olavinlinna Castle in the town of Savonlinna, also known for its summer Opera Festival. Last year the ice art exhibition toured through five cities.
“We thought that since Helsinki is the World Design Capital 2012 it would nice to be in the middle of all the action”, Jantunen says.
Everything has not been clinched yet, however. According to Jantunen, the reply to the rent request that was submitted already in the spring came annoyingly late.
The price is high, too: the City of Helsinki is asking nearly EUR 50,000 for the leasing of the Kansalaistori site.
According to Jantunen, it is touch and go whether it is worth bringing the event to Helsinki.
“In the next couple of days the calculator will be put to some serious use”, he says.
Previously in HS International Edition:
Ice sculptors on two-week tour of Finland (16.2.2010)
Images of the Harbin Ice Festival
Ice Sculpture (Wikipedia)