An artist designs structure along with the psychology of the viewer perceiving it. Is there any other artist who would be able to hack the perception of the participant as accurately as Olafur Eliasson does? A live example of an artist who doesn’t want to be known as ‘famous’ is, paradoxically, recognized globally for working in all 7 continents.

Eliasson is a Danish–Icelandic artist known for his sculptures and large-scale installation art, imposing sublime nature of water, light, vapor and air temperature . Chris Dercon, (Director of Tate Modern Art 2011-1016) has acknowledged that Olafur’s art at Tate Modern(2003) was life-changing, not just for Olafur but for Tate as well! An addition of a million more people to visit Olafur’s art throughout the year proved the excellence of his artistry.

Here’s a tour through of 15 projects by Olafur Eliasson showcasing his conscious art pieces to subjugate your understanding of senses.

1. THE WEATHER PROJECT, 2003

The grand volume of Turbine hall is nothing but an illusion created by the mirrored ceiling. The semi-circular glass with a halo of monochromatic lights makes it a round sun when seen. The fog all around the hall creates fuzzy feelings of a bleak sunny day. People seen on the floor, laying and cherishing their reflection in the ceiling at Tate Modern is what ‘The weather project’ is about!

Source: Tate Modern, London, 2003 © www.olafureliasson.net
Source: Tate Modern, London, 2003 © www.olafureliasson.net
Source: Tate Modern, London, 2003 © www.olafureliasson.net
Source: Tate Modern, London, 2003 © www.olafureliasson.net
Source: Tate Modern, London, 2003 © www.olafureliasson.net

2. YOUR RAINBOW PANORAMA, 2006-2011

The 150m long panoramic walk provides the viewer with a complete journey through the visible spectrum of light. The project pins Olafur’s ‘you only see things when you move’ series. The rooftop design is a completely new identity to the existing ARoS Aarhus Art Museum.

Source: ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum, Denmark © www.olafureliasson.net
Source: ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum, Denmark © www.olafureliasson.net
Source: ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum, Denmark © www.olafureliasson.net

3. FAÇADE FOR HARPA REYKJAVIK CONCERT HALL AND CONFERENCE CENTRE, 2005-2011

Eliasson’s roots were always reflected in his work. The Icelandic artist used the crystallized basalt structure in his commissioned facade project with a ‘quasi brick’ module. The blend of normality and anomaly in the modules credit the exteriors as a disordered one and of fickle quality that couldn’t be accomplished through stacking 3D squares. Therefore, the exteriors for Harpa are both stylishly and practically vital to the structure.

Source: Reykjavik, 2013 © www.olafureliasson.net
Source: Reykjavik, 2013 © www.olafureliasson.net
Source: Reykjavik, 2013 © www.olafureliasson.net
Source: Reykjavik, 2013 © www.olafureliasson.net
Source: Reykjavik, 2013 © www.olafureliasson.net

4. CIRKELBROEN, 2015

This bridge gives Copenhagen’s activities a new face by being designed in an articulated manner. The pedestrians, cyclists, walkers have been the main focus of this design. The five coinciding circles held by thin steel fibers, hanging on columns with a ring-like structure makes it beautiful. The bridge still gives a passage for boats to travel through the canal.

Source: Christianshavns Kanal, Copenhagen, 2015 © www.olafureliasson.net
Source: Christianshavns Kanal, Copenhagen, 2015 © www.olafureliasson.net
Source: Christianshavns Kanal, Copenhagen, 2015 © www.olafureliasson.net
Source: Christianshavns Kanal, Copenhagen, 2015 © www.olafureliasson.net
Source: Christianshavns Kanal, Copenhagen, 2015 © www.olafureliasson.net
Source: Christianshavns Kanal, Copenhagen, 2015 © www.olafureliasson.net

5. PALACE OF VERSAILLES ART INSTALLATION, 2016

With several incredible art installations in the historic palace, Eliasson has marked a statement of contemporary abstraction. Every art is a metaphor for how he perceives nature and architecture. He seems the line between human boundary and deep compassion for the environment. The waterfall, deep mirror, your sense of unity boggle the ordinary understanding of natural sources we kept on taking granted for.

Source: Palace of Versailles, 2016 © www.olafureliasson.net
Source: Palace of Versailles, 2016 © www.olafureliasson.net
Source: Palace of Versailles, 2016 © www.olafureliasson.net
Source: Palace of Versailles, 2016 © www.olafureliasson.net
Source: Palace of Versailles, 2016 © www.olafureliasson.net
Source: Palace of Versailles, 2016 © www.olafureliasson.net
Source: Palace of Versailles, 2016 © www.olafureliasson.net

6. SERPENTINE GALLERY PAVILION, 2007

The basic concept built around this design was the ramp which defines a movement for spectators from the inside to the outside. It was designed by the collaboration of Eliasson and Norwegian architect Kjetil Thorsen. The spiraling slope, 140 meters long and screened to a limited extent by curved line louvers created the type of the encased space. The initial segment of the incline opened onto the inside, the second was encased yet for the louvers, and the last part turned into an augmentation of the top of the structure.

Source: Serpentine Gallery, Kensington Gardens, London © www.olafureliasson.net
Source: Serpentine Gallery, Kensington Gardens, London © www.olafureliasson.net
Source: Serpentine Gallery, Kensington Gardens, London © www.olafureliasson.net
Source: Serpentine Gallery, Kensington Gardens, London © www.olafureliasson.net

7. FJORDENHUS, 2009-2018

A footbridge provides access to the structure of tall cylinders which almost seems like floating on water. These cylinders seem to intersect one another and the designers Olafur Eliasson and Sebastian Behmann have skillfully extracted the negative spaces. The sleek voids contrast the brick-built walls and windows. The curves of the house demanded varied floor plans, staggering multiple activities on each floor. The house metaphors a lighthouse.

Source: Vejle, Denmark © www.olafureliasson.net
Source: Vejle, Denmark © www.olafureliasson.net
Source: Vejle, Denmark © www.olafureliasson.net
Source: Vejle, Denmark © www.olafureliasson.net
Source: Vejle, Denmark © www.olafureliasson.net
Source: Vejle, Denmark © www.olafureliasson.net
Source: Vejle, Denmark © www.olafureliasson.net

8. SYMBIOTIC SEEING, 2020

Eliasson always believe in participation of the viewers into his design. Allegory to this thought, as a part of ‘Symbiotic seeing’ series, this art piece includes the phenomenon of diffused light into the fog. Beams of light coming through the walls interact with fog and create a blurred reality in the darkened room. The ripples of the fog swirl above the viewers evoking a sublime feeling.

Source: Kunsthaus Zürich © www.olafureliasson.net
Source: Kunsthaus Zürich © www.olafureliasson.net
Source: Kunsthaus Zürich © www.olafureliasson.net

9. LITTLE SUN, 2012

This project lit up millions of houses in areas of Africa with electricity issues, generating income opportunities for many. Being safe and affordable, the Little Sun eliminates the use of fuel in day-to-day works. The solar panel on the back of the product makes it environment friendly. The design of Little Sun has been conceptualized by the national flower of Ethiopia, ‘Meskel’. Olafur Eliasson and engineer Frederik Ottesen have successfully commercialized the Little Sun in Ethiopia and other parts of the globe.

Source: Commercial project, Little Sun © www.olafureliasson.net
Source: Commercial project, Little Sun © www.olafureliasson.net
Source: Commercial project, Little Sun © www.olafureliasson.net

10. UMSCHREIBUNG, 2004

The double-helical staircase is artistically juxtaposed with respect to the mass and geometry of the office surrounding it. The fun in the project lies where one enters and exits through the same point. Balancing on a single point, the structure is definitely a masterpiece!

Source: KPMG Deutsche Treuhand-Gesellschaft, Munich, 2004 © www.olafureliasson.net
Source: KPMG Deutsche Treuhand-Gesellschaft, Munich, 2004 © www.olafureliasson.net
Source: KPMG Deutsche Treuhand-Gesellschaft, Munich, 2004 © www.olafureliasson.net

11. RAUM FÜR BILDUNG UND BILDER, 2015

The reading space for kids is fascinating, by the expansion of various bends on the floor and bright tree trunks. Enveloped by fleece, the storage compartment has retired and lights are hung to the roof.

Source: UdK, Grundschule der Künste, Berlin 2015 © www.olafureliasson.net
Source: UdK, Grundschule der Künste, Berlin 2015 © www.olafureliasson.net
Source: UdK, Grundschule der Künste, Berlin 2015 © www.olafureliasson.net
Source: UdK, Grundschule der Künste, Berlin 2015 © www.olafureliasson.net

12. SOMETIMES THE RIVER IS THE BRIDGE, 2020

Olafur uses his resources with the utmost utility factor of the resource. In this project, similarly, the pool in the middle working on motor diffuses waves and the light from the different sources hits these waves creating divine patterns on the walls.

Source: Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo © www.olafureliasson.net
Source: Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo © www.olafureliasson.net
Source: Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo © www.olafureliasson.net

13. THE NEW YORK CITY WATERFALLS, 2008

Mesmerizing the visual scale of measurement, Olafur Eliasson has installed four waterfalls in New York. As per the description from the architect, the four Waterfalls were situated in Brooklyn under Brooklyn Bridge; the second one between Piers 4 and 5 in Brooklyn, the third one in Lower Manhattan at Pier 35, and last one on Governors Island. The 30-40 m high structures comprising the framework, siphons, and hoses were a continuation of Eliasson’s past cascade works.

Source: Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, 2008 © www.olafureliasson.net
Source: Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, 2008 © www.olafureliasson.net
Source: Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, 2008 © www.olafureliasson.net

14. CONTACT, 2014

From the bent divider and the skyline, the floor slants delicately upwards towards the main issue giving guests the impression of remaining on a gigantic circle. The static line of light makes pressure in the guest’s spatial mindfulness, comparing itself to one’s felt skyline which experiences consistent change as one travels through space.

Source: Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris 2014 © www.olafureliasson.net
Source: Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris 2014 © www.olafureliasson.net
Source: Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris 2014 © www.olafureliasson.net

15. WOODEN CONSTRUCTION, 2003

Spectators intersect a progression of associated inclines, stages, and flights of stairs that navigate the outside degrees of a multistory structure. The ceaseless development highlights three distinct varieties of steps with fluctuating slants.

Source: Danish Pavilion, 50th Biennale di Venezia, Venice, 2003 © www.olafureliasson.net
Source: Danish Pavilion, 50th Biennale di Venezia, Venice, 2003 © www.olafureliasson.net
Source: Danish Pavilion, 50th Biennale di Venezia, Venice, 2003 © www.olafureliasson.net
Source: Danish Pavilion, 50th Biennale di Venezia, Venice, 2003 © www.olafureliasson.net

One who really wants to cherish his artwork, a stance through his website would blow your senses! 

Information Sources: 

Cooke, Rachel. “Olafur Eliasson: ‘I Am Not Special’.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 21 June 2015, www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2015/jun/21/olafur-eliasson-i-am-not-special-interview-tree-of-codes-ballet-manchester.

Olafur Eliasson.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 17 May 2020, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olafur_Eliasson

Designing for Versailles: Olafur Eliasson | Brilliant Ideas Ep. 32.” Bloomberg QuickTake Originals, Jul 20, 2016

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=82mA_f4jcV8 

Architectural Journalist

RTF

Goa

Sharayu, name of a holy river siding edge of Ayodhya is unknown to many yet exists with significant gravity. A metaphor to this fact is conscious architecture.Being a third-year architecture student pursuing an interest in writing, reading, cosmology and mythology, she aims to augment awareness for the same. 

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