On the morning of his 60th birthday, a surprise awaited HSH Prince Albert II and his children on the Place du Palais. An enormous ice sculpture, elegantly spelling out ‘Happy Birthday’ in ephemeral letters surprised the Prince and delighted his twin children Jacques and Gabriella, who joyously ran around the work of art, taking it all in. Mario Amegee, the artist behind the ice sculpture, spontaneously decided to create the piece as a gift for the Prince.
Mario Amegee said that the Prince is someone that everyone loves and someone who has supported him throughout his career. The Prince has championed the work of Mario Amegee and has congratulated him many times for his beautiful pieces. So Mario felt the he needed to be there to wish the Prince happy birthday, simply and in his own way.
Work on the sculpture began last week. The large pieces of the finished sculpture had to be brought in the evening before the Prince’s birthday by refrigerated trucks. Assembling the pieces of the composition alone took two hours of work.
Mario’s studio, in the Cote d’Azur, is in the large industrial cooler of an ice factory which makes blocks of ice for industries that need it, like restaurants, for example. The warehouses are kept at a temperature of -10 degrees. The ice factory was large enough to house and preserve the 3 tons birthday sculpture.
An ice sculpture as massive as the one Mario Amegee made for Prince Albert can easily last two or three hours in the afternoon sun. After that, the sculpture will transform and take on different shapes as it melts; remaining beautiful but more and more difficult to decipher.
The sculptural birthday surprise was enhanced by the warm voice of Gospel singer Sister Grace and by the friendly voices of the on-looking public, who all wished the Prince a happy 60th birthday.