A Journey into Letter space - John Bark & Charli Kasselbäck. | Asaf Kliger


It’s difficult to work from home and be at home all day. I miss my social life and to be with people I appreciate and that give me good energy. Last week the weather had been challenging with a lot of wind. I decided it was time to visit the big city. I went to one of my happy places in Palma, the Cafè Es Pes de sa Palla that is run by Amadip foundation. You might have heard about the place. The foundation was created by parents who came together to give a better opportunity to their children with intellectual disabilities, so they would have something meaningful to do and to learn a profession. They have been successful since 1986 when they started. Coffee is fantastic and the sunny terrace has a very nice, relaxed ambience.

PALMA - El toque de queda en las Islas pasa a las 23 horas a partir del sábado.

I meet up at the cafe with a Swedish friend who spends his time between Sweden and Mallorca together with his American wife. His name is John Bark. Someone who is into Scandinavian design or likes reading might have heard about him as he is a well-known creative director, writer, designer, and son of Jane Bark, one of our amazing Swedish illustrators.

John is a new friend that I meet during a team building adventure that the Swiss tourist board arranged a few years ago. We were competing in “The Meeting trophy” where we represented the Nordic countries together with another 8 meeting specialists. We had 72 hours to score the best points in a knowledge quiz, combined with games and challenges in different areas of Switzerland. The board of visitors for Switzerland set up this challenge every normal year and most European countries compete. We started in Zurich and moved our way around with cars, buses, trains, walking and even some mountain bikes, to learn more about the country, the facilities and the tourist offer that Switzerland has. This was for sure one of the most fun experiences we had ever had. We won the whole competition. I’d love to arrange a challenge like this in Mallorca.

We talked about other things that makes us happy and John mentioned one of the things he really enjoys is “the smell of snow”. I think most expats on the island have some kind of cold winter memories like me. In my case, I never liked winter. My memories are filled with layer and layer of too many clothes and the smell of wet wool. The last winter I spent in Sweden, we had guests from several countries visiting to celebrate a typical Swedish Christmas and on the 24th we had minus 34 degrees. Even the water pipes froze. John just smiled and repeated “the smell of snow makes me happy”. Working with exciting projects is fun. I heard he got headhunted by the company that runs the ICE Bar in Stockholm to go there last month and take down the original ice bar block by ice block. That is an unusual project.

John told me that the past 6 years he and his college Charili Kasselbäck have competed for the opportunity to build one of the rooms in the famous Ice hotel in the north of Sweden in the small town of Jukkasjärvi. The Ice hotel in Jukkasjärvi opened in 1989, and in addition to a hotel is also an art exhibition with changing original art of ice and snow. Every winter, the hotel is created in a new version, entirely of ice from the Torne River, one of Sweden’s five national rivers and the last untouched watercourse. When the winter season’s hotel of ice and snow has melted back into the river in the spring, there are still 18 suites of ice and snow left in the permanent Ice hotel 365 days. It’s a place where guests can enjoy experiences of ice and snow all year round. John won 3 years out of 6 and can now name himself an Ice room builder.

There are several teams that work with the construction and artist are invited to participate from all over the world. The estimated building time is 14 days. Each block weighs around 10 tonnes and the work is physically strenuous. The cold weather affects everyone and the special clothes are heavy. The work is performed with sharp tools and chainsaws. I cannot image a job like that would make me happy at all, one week up in the north with no sun would properly make me run away.