Two businessmen have shipped 200 tons of frozen deoxygenated water from Canada to London to build an ice palace that will go on show in the British capital before making a European tour.
The IceSpace, which opens to the public on Monday, will stand for two months on the banks of the River Thames next to the city’s landmark Tower Bridge before travelling on to Barcelona and Berlin at the height of the European summer.
Seventy feet high and 300 feet long, the palace contains ice bars and an ice rink, and will host performance artists and display ice sculptures.
“Something like this has never been seen here in Europe before,” British co-owner Philip Hughes told Reuters. “There is a wow! factor both visually and from the temperature change.”
Fresh ice will be shipped in from Canada to replace the palace and the sculptures as they melt in their progress from city to city.
Clear water needed for sculpting
By deoxygenating water before freezing it, the suppliers produce an unusually pure, clear ice. “All the carving blocks of ice come from Canada where the water is purer and they know how to produce the quality and clarity of ice that we need in ice sculpting,” Hughes said.
He said he and his partner Peter Pallai had been planning the $2.7 million project for several years. “We will dispose of the water in consultation with the local authorities,” Hughes said.
For each ticket sold, the partners will make a contribution to WaterAid, an international charity dedicated to providing clean water and sanitation, he said.
Each visitor will be provided with a thermally insulated coat and gloves to protect them from the 23 degree temperature inside the structure, and will be told to leave after one hour because of the intense cold.
The structure will be cloaked in special insulating material and chilled by constantly running refrigeration units to protect it from summer temperatures.