Posts tagged with "Olafur Eliasson":

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Take a deep dive into Olafur Eliasson’s first completed building

Fjordenhus in Vejle, Denmark, is the first completed building by artist Olafur Eliasson and architect Sebastian Behmann. Together with Studio Olafur Eliasson, the duo have created a thoughtfully conceived and crafted structure in the bay of a Danish fjord. In their earlier architectural collaborations—like the curtain wall design for the Harpa Concert Hall in Reykjavik, Iceland—their work has displayed an attention to detail, composition, materials, and craftsmanship that carries over into this unique commission.

Once they convinced their client, Kirk Kapital, to build its headquarters in the water of an underutilized shipping port, they created a cylindrical concrete structure as a reference to the area’s surrounding grain silos.

The building is composed of four intersecting concrete volumes arrayed around an open public space and faced with nearly a million custom-designed bricks. The four-story volumes morph in elevation from ellipses to circles, and out of these are carved porous openings that dramatically frame views of the fjord. Built atop a man-made island with a basement foundation, Fjordenhus looks like a medieval rampart as imagined by Louis Kahn. But up close, its exterior walls are a pattern of endlessly and beautifully textured color.

The designers created 15 different hues of unglazed brick, added a smattering of blue, green, and silver glazed bricks, and then meticulously laid them out in digital drawings to create a patterned composition for the entire building. The brick colors were selected to reflect their immediate surroundings (more blue at the top of the building and gray for the stairwells), and they are meant to embody the changing weather and light conditions of the site. The torqued elliptical forms are intended to create a series of dynamic, flowing spaces that are “constantly calibrating to allow the user to trust themselves,” according to Eliasson, as they enter and pass through the building. The artist cited Erwin Panofsky’s criticism of neoclassicism and how it prescribes the inhabitation of buildings as an example of what not to do in designing architectural space. Eliasson wanted to move away from classical hierarchical planning to a more democratic, participatory architecture that he considers a hallmark of Danish democracy.

The building is entered from the quay by a footbridge that leads into a circular public space with three of the artist’s sculptures and a mirrored ceiling piece that reflects the light of the fjord back into the occupied public space.

A circular elevator that features dramatic top and bottom lighting, along with a surrounding stair that rises on splayed armatures, take users up into workspaces fitted with furnishings, lighting, built-in cabinets, and interior stairs all designed by the firm. The placement of furniture is purposefully haphazard so that users “democratically” negotiate their own paths through the space, giving them co-authorship of the building. 

In addition, Eliasson designed table and floor lamps made of deep green glass and metal, as well as built-in lighting that is equal parts functional lighting and sculptural object. Lower floors have elegant, circular concrete pads with coffered lighting overhead. The top floor has a globular, faceted sculpture placed below a skylight that throws sunlight over the space. In addition, the rooms have a series of Eliasson-designed fixtures elegantly cobbled together from a hanging LED light fixture that casts light upward through a glass lens, creating a pattern of concentric circles on the ceiling.

This unique practice is based on an artistic sensibility devoted to materiality, craft, and an understanding of form, developed through Eliasson’s years of experimentation as a trained sculptor. As a result, it is a challenge to more traditional architecture practices. Furthermore, the designer’s insistence on the necessity of creating a democratic, user-controlled space means Fjordenhus comes as close to a contemporary Gesamtkunstwerk (or total work of art) as we have yet experienced in the 21st century.

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IKEA partners with Olafur Eliasson, LEGO, and more to branch out beyond furniture

Live from Democratic Design Design Days in Älmhult, Sweden, IKEA announced new collaborations with a lineup of technology, design, and Internet of Things (IoT) companies. With the likes of Solange’s Saint Heron, Adidas, and Lego, new partnerships were pronounced as the new IKEA compadres, a sweet compilation of design furnishings and fixtures well beyond the typical build-it-yourself furniture it is known for. The union with auteur-esque artists and designers results in an outlandish and pleasantly unexpected mise-en-scene: an Ikea receipt rug by fashion designer Virgil Abloh, solar-powered lights by Olafur Eliasson, glass and ceramics by Per B Sundberg, and even a perfume by Saint Heron. While many of these compilations remain in the R&D phase, IKEA still announced debuting projects: First, there was Olafur Eliasson’s project dedicated to creating solar lighting to communities that otherwise wouldn’t have access to such technologies. Then, there was Saint Heron’s “architectural and interior design objects with multifunctional use,” including the aforementioned perfume (we wonder if notes of birch will be included as ode to Scandinavian design and their preoccupation with the material).  Also present were some odder alliances, including a 3D printing company that exclusively fashions custom prosthetics and an education company dedicated to e-sports. Be that as it may, the Swedish multinational group has been, for a while now, elaborating their business model. Think about their forays into pet furniture, or augmented reality apps. There’s also more home and lifestyle products, like the Sonos audio system, as well as the limited edition art collabs. Of these synergistic relationships, we hope that they one day will become as viable and available as the Sladda bike (but not as low production as the belt drive, which was originally chosen over a conventional metal chain to avoid maintenance, but eventually broken in as little as one ride).
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Olafur Eliasson’s architecture studio completes stunning first building

The Architect’s Newspaper recently did a studio visit with Studio Other Spaces, the architect’s office established by sculptor Olafur Eliasson and his architect-collaborator Sebastian Behmann in 2014. Behmann has collaborated with Eliasson and his research team since 2001 on numerous high-profile projects, and they have just completed Fjordenhus (Fjord House), their first entirely in-office building. The architecture studio, like many offices today, claims to “pursues a research-based approach to the production of space that seeks to expand the estab­lished architectural vocabulary.” But unlike many new firms, this studio has already produced a strong body of  built work (though these were done alongside established architecture firms). Fjorden­hus is a 92-foot-tall office building which sits literally in the water of a disused dock in a fjord in Vejle, Jutland (Denmark) for their client Kirk Kapital. This building project builds on Olafur Eliasson’s history as an artist and claims to be a “total work of art” (Gesamtkunstwerk) and comes as close as any recent building project to achieving that claim. They have designed nearly every aspect of the building, including the windows, doors, carpets, glass, furniture, lighting and of course, the art works. Constructed, for example primarily of unglazed brick it was chosen because it is “the smallest possible building unit” and allows for the organic shape of the building. They also argue that Fjordenhus' intricate brickwork seen from afar “seems orderly” but upon closer inspection, “the different shapes and slightly ir­regular staggering of the bricks’ depth reveals a lively, organic surface.” Moreover, additional colors of glazed bricks are “integrated into its carved-out sections to produce color fades–green from the bottom and blue from the top–that reflect the water and sky.” Given the firm's intense interest in materials from their previous art projects, “every corner, niche, and arc required an individual brick-laying solution; each brick was specially fit into the complex cur­vature of the concrete walls, the overall brickwork lying flush with the curved steel frames and glass elements of the facade.” Further, Fjorden­hus art works don’t so much sit in the space but are designed into the building itself, and include light “installations” like Fjordhvirvel, which encircles Fjordenhus, Undervandsforventning and Den indre “that visually link the lower and upper spaces and create a formal dialogue between the curvature of the building, the daily cycles of the fjord, and the arc of the sun’s path across the sky.” The building is a double shell of local Danish brick that forms “four intersecting cylinders” from which volumes have been carved out to create complex curved, circular, and elliptical forms, torqueing walls and parabolic arches, windows and openings. As the building sits in the water, it is accessible by a footbridge into a double-height ground floor, which is open to the public and is “permeated by the fjord and contains two aqueous zones.” The upper three floors are offices for Kirk Kapital and varying floor plans are on different levels and are organized around circles and ellipses, with specially designed furniture and lights, and are connected by spi­ral staircases and round vestibules. The Gesamtkunstwerk notion might be considered a dated one for architects, but with this firm, coming as it does from the world of art, it has a different idea about how to think about buildings, conceive of space and design walls and facades. There are currently other art practices like Thomas Heatherwick's moving into architectural design, but none have created as convincing a work of architecture as Fjordenhus.
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MVRDV’s stacked desires, Zaha Hadid’s latticework roofs, and other updates from the architects of Instagram

At The Architect’s Newspaper, we’re plain addicted to Instagram. Sure, we love seeing Brutalist concrete through “Inkwell” or “Ludwig” filters, but there’s also no better place to see where architects are getting their inspiration, how they’re documenting the built environment, and where they’ve traveled of late. Below, we bring you some of the best Instagrams of this past week! (Also, don’t forget to check out our Instagram account here.) Last Friday, Rotterdam-based firm MVRDV opened The Why Factory (W)ego: The Future City is Flexible, a bright new installation for Dutch Design Week 2017 in Eindhoven. According to MVRDV co-director Winy Maas, the project is "based on the hypothesis that the maximum density could be equal to the maximum of desires." https://www.instagram.com/p/BaguLgZBAbV/?taken-by=mvrdv AN contributor and designer Adam Nathaniel Furman shared an alarmingly value-engineered facade in the UK. Beneath the fake brick, a hollow duct–a compelling metaphor for our current newscape. In the comments, there is a bit of hope: Furman and friends list British architects who would never do such a thing, like Sergison Bates, FAT Architects, Outram, or Caruso St. John. https://www.instagram.com/p/Baqmp7ag80u/ Bloomberg is getting a new $1.3 billion, Foster+Partners-designed headquarters in London. The bronze fin-covered building boasts artwork and installations by Cristina Iglesias, Michael Craig-Martin, Olafur Eliasson, and Langlands & Bell. Eliasson's No future is possible without a past crowns a central room within the building, resembling the silvery surface of a pond inverted onto the ceiling. https://www.instagram.com/p/Ban9Gxvnt8u/?taken-by=studioolafureliasson Zaha Hadid Architects completed the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Centre (KAPSARC) in Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia. The 70,000-square-foot, five-building complex includes an auditorium, library, exhibit hall, and a prayer room sheathed in white latticework (pictured below).  https://www.instagram.com/p/Barov2bFJr6/?taken-by=zahahadidarchitects
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Olafur Eliasson invites refugees and asylum seekers to craft lighting designs at The Moody Center for the Arts

The Moody Center for the Arts at Rice University opened in Houston to much fanfare with exhibitions by practitioners including Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson and Japanese collective teamLab to kick off its first season. Green light – An artistic workshop is the brainchild of Eliasson in collaboration with the Thyssen Bornemisza Art Contemporary (TBA21) of Vienna. In its first trip to the U.S., the workshop aims to give refugees and asylum seekers a “green light” to participate in a variety of programs to elicit creativity and community. The workshop invites participants to construct modular green lamps designed by Eliasson out of recycled materials, which can stand alone as singular units or be stacked into more complex constructions. The hope for the work is to create an environment where communities can collide and create together in a playful and collaborative environment. “Green light is an act of welcoming, addressed both to those who have fled hardship and instability in their home countries and to the residents of the cities receiving them,” said Eliasson in a statement. “I hope Green light shines light on some of the challenges and responsibilities arising from the current refugee crisis in Europe and throughout the world.”

Green light – An artistic workshop The Moody Center for the Arts at Rice University 6100 Main Street, Houston Through May 6, 2017

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Olafur Eliasson tackles climate change with installations at Versailles

Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson has unveiled two large-scale water installations at the Château de Versailles in France. Eliasson may be best known for his Weather Project (2003) in the Turbine Hall of Tate Modern, London and his four large-scale artificial waterfalls that were installed on the shorelines of Manhattan and Brooklyn in 2008. Eight years on, and Eliasson is still working with artificial waterfalls. This time his similarly-sized project in Versailles, along with a series of site-specific works, aim to reflect on the effects of climate change. Using a construction crane, Eliasson allows water to crash down into the basin of the Grand Canal at the Palace of Versailles. The piece is titled Waterfall and thcrane is positioned in such a way that on June 21, the cascade of water will obscure the sun, creating a shimmering array of light from certain perspectives. In a more overt not to climate change, the artist's Glacial Rock Flour Garden uses 50 tons of glacial rock flour from Greenland—worn down to dust through erosion— to create a desert-scape in the Palace of Versaille's gardens. Surrounding the statue of Persephone, Greek goddess of spring, Eliasson has described the installation as "very alien." Speaking at at a press preview, Eliasson said that Persephone and the encompassing Colonnade "have been cultivated" adding that the work is about "the loss of nature." Other installations can be found inside the Château de Versailles. The Curious Museum features mirrors located behind windows, intended to reflect the arches of the Hercules Room. A reflective triangle and circle installation, dubbed Your Sense of Unity and located at the end of the Hall of Mirror, creates the illusion of illuminated circles filling the space. Using more mirrors, Solar Compression is a mirror that slowly rotates, reflecting the details of the King’s Guards’ Room wooden floorboards. "Historically, the royal court at Versailles was a place of constant observation—of oneself and of others; the strict social norms of the time were enforced through a web of gazes," said Eliasson in a press release. "I ask myself: how do you, the visitor, view this iconic site? What does it do to you? Have we all become king?" Building on this, Eliasson has created The Gaze of Versailles. An easily missable installation, two balls formed from glass, gold, and brass have been embedded into a window pane in the Lower Gallery. Looking out onto the palace garden's and Eliasson's Waterfall, the installation is meant to resemble the artist's own glasses, thus allowing visitors to view the Waterfall through Eliasson's eyes. Overall, the installations seek to facilitate introspective experiences, with visitors questioning whether they are in Eliasson's words, “consuming or producing the experience.” “The works outdoors and indoors address the need to offer the opportunity for everyone to become an explorer, not just a king or queen,” he added. “With Olafur Eliasson, stars collide, the horizon slips away, and our perception blurs. The man who plays with light will make the contours of the Sun-King’s palace dance,” said Catherine Pegard, President of the Château de Versailles.
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You’ll want to be in New Canaan on October 9 for the opening of SANAA’s Grace Farms pavilion

Today, the Grace Farms Foundation announced artworks by contemporary artists that will be unveiled for the October 9, 2015, opening of the SANAA-designed pavilion at Grace Farms in New Canaan, CT. The works are a textile work by Olafur Eliasson, an outdoor sound installation by Susan Philipsz; photographs of SANAA’s Grace Farms models by Thomas Demand; and a mural by Teresita Fernandez. Grace Farms is a 75-acre open space with programming focused on nature, arts, community, justice, and faith that will include the purpose-built, 86,000-square-foot multi-use building that snakes through the surrounding woodlands, wetlands, and meadows. The landscape includes walking trails, picnic areas, an athletic field, and food from community purveyors. It was designed by SANAA in collaboration with Philadelphia–based landscape architecture firm OLIN. The list of artists was made in consultation with Yuko Hasegawa, Chief Curator of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo. “Collaborating with Grace Farms Foundation and SANAA on this project has been highly rewarding,” stated Hasegawa.  “The concept of Grace Farms is unique.  I believe it will serve as a great example of how art, architecture, nature, and meaningful programs can all come together to inspire people.” Eliasson will also produce another site-specific light-based installation, and Beatriz Milhazes will build a collage, both of which will be unveiled in spring 2016. Eliasson explained why he is excited to work at Grace Farms: “I was moved by Grace Farms’ vision of an inclusive, non-commercial space to create a work of art that resonates with the architecture, the surrounding parkland and the people who breathe life into it. My work will offer visitors an ephemeral experience dedicated to embodied spirituality.”
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Creative Time’s Cara Starke named next director of the Pulitzer Arts Foundation

Founder and Chair of the Pulitzer Arts Foundation, Emily Rauh Pulitzer, announced today that Cara Starke, the director of exhibitions at Creative Time, will step into the role of director at the St. Louis–based cultural institution, beginning this July. During her years at Creative Time, Starke spearheaded some of the organization's more elaborate, large-scale projects and exhibitions, including this past summer's popular installation, A Subtletyby artist Kara Walker. “Cara’s approach to the work and operations of an arts institution is exceptional. She has a keen understanding of the evolving role the arts play in our lives and in our communities—a vision that is well in line with the Pulitzer’s tradition of pushing the boundaries of the arts experience,” said Pulitzer in a statement. Prior to her tenure at Creative Time, Starke cut her teeth as the assistant curator for the department of media and performance art at the Museum of Modern Art, where she helped organize several exhibitions, such as Olafur Eliasson's Take your time and Doug Aitken's Sleepwalkers. The Tadao Ando–designed Pulitzer building is currently undergoing an expansion to add 3,700 square feet of public space—complementing the 7,500-square feet of existing galleries—to carve out new areas for exhibitions and programs. Starke will take over for Kristina Van Dyke who has served as director since 2011 and worked with Mrs. Pulitzer in the conception of the institution's expansion. "The Pulitzer is a remarkable space that brings together intellectual experimentation and thoughtful contemplation with a commitment to local audiences and experiences that extend beyond the institution’s walls,” said Starke in a press release. “With the recent expansion, the Pulitzer has increased opportunities to offer unexpected, profound, and innovative approaches to artistic and cultural expression. I am honored to lead the Pulitzer into its next phase as an open and inspired space for art and culture.”
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Architectural Stars Align at Storefront for Art & Architecture Benefit

The architecture social calendar in New York includes a bewildering array of benefits, parties, fundraisers, and charity auctions. But the yearly event that brings out the most party loving architects is the Storefront for Art and Architecture's benefit and art auction. The Storefront always gets the most fabulous venues for its events and this year's was beyond spectacular: the 1893 Bowery Savings Bank. Designed by Stanford White of McKim, Mead and White the space takes up a huge through block site between the Bowery, Grand, and Elizabeth streets. The interior is a riot of colorful Siena marble walls, mosaic floors, faux marble scagliola columns, coffered ceilings, and stairs and skylights made of cast iron. This nearly indescribable landmark was the perfect venue for Storefront's grand director Eva Franch and even more grand board president Charles Renfro to introduce the gala's honored guests Olafur Eliasson and the composer, vocalist, and choreographer Meredith Monk. They appeared on a high balcony and spotlight like opera stars, talked about the importance of the Storefront to the arts community in the city and asked everyone to bid aggressively on the art works in the auction. Robert M. Rubin, Storefront board member, bid on a small Louis Kahn sketch. Other works by Ann Hamilton, Kiki Smith, Terence Gower, and Denise Scott Brown all sold to eager buyers. Bernard Tschumi, who donated a print from his Manhattan Transcript series, also bid on and, with his wife Kate Linker, gazumped all other bidders to take away a magical Meredith Monk print of a musical score. The event bought in a total of $344,370 to the Storefront.  
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Providence Takes Top Award in Bloomberg Mayors Challenge

Bloomberg Philanthropies has announced the winners of its Mayors Challenge, a competition meant to generate innovative ideas for the improvement of city life. Out of the 300 cities that submitted proposals, the giving institution created by New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg gave the Grand Prize for Innovation to Providence, RI, and its mayor, Angel Taveras. The city was awarded $5 million to implement its project, what Bloomberg Philanthropies called a "cutting-edge early education initiative." Under the initiative, participating children will wear a recording device home that will monitor the conversations they have with their parents or other adults. The transcripts of these conversations will then be used to develop weekly coaching sessions in which government monitors or someone will coach the grownups on how better to speak with their children. Bloomberg Philanthropies said it selected the "revolutionary approach" for the way it uses "proven technologies to measure vocabulary exposure in low-income households and help[s] parents close the word gap." Hello Big Brother! But, then, it's not a surprising choice coming from the man who has recently tried to ban jumbo sodas, did ban smoking in public places, and ordered the erection of signs at fast food restaurants telling consumers just how fat they're about to become. Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia, and Santa Monica also made the top five list, each taking away $1 million to put toward the implementation of their own proposals. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel plans to build a data system to help city leaders make better decisions to prevent problems before they happen. Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter will launch a new procurement process to make it easier for entrepreneurs and "social innovators" to answer RFPs. Santa Monica is developing an index to measure well-being and thereby make it part of policy making. Houston walked away with the Fan Favorite prize, which added $50,000 to its purse. This prize was co-sponsored by the Huffington Post and resulted from 58,000 votes. Bayou City mayor Annise Parker is developing a one-bin recycling program, or One Bin For All, as it is called. The measure will save citizens the nuisance of sorting their refuse. Instead, recyclables will be separated from regular garbage at transfer facilities, with the goal of recycling 75 percent of all waste. Houston is currently seeking a private company to partner with on the project. In addition to the money, each of the five members will receive a trophy designed by international art star Olafur Eliasson. While no image of the trophy was available at blog time, a description was: "The Mayors Challenge Prize for Innovation award is a spherical sculpture formed by three concentric circles—square, circle, and dodecagon—encircling a hanging compass. The compass indicates steadily north, uniting the prize winners and assisting viewers in imagining their collective responsibility to navigate towards the greater good for all."
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Pictorial>Henning Larsen in Reykjavik

On Saturday, Icelanders celebrated the opening of the Harpa Concert Hall in Reykjavik. Designed by Henning Larsen, the building features a colorful, prismatic  facade, developed in consultation with the artist Olafur Eliasson. The architects and the artist drew inspiration from basalt stone formations found along the Icelandic coast. The building has both a rugged power, and yet the colorful facade, which changes throughout the day according to light conditions, is inviting. The approximately 300,000 square foot building includes four concert and conference halls, as well as generous lobby and public gathering areas. The project is the centerpiece of the city's waterfront redevelopment. It's also a significant sign of life for a country battered by the recent economic downturn.
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Art On The Gridiron

Thirty-five years ago in Austin, Texas, Willie Nelson forged an historic accord between the hippies and the rednecks. Today, some 200 miles to the north in Arlington, Texas, Gene and Jerry Jones, owners of the Dallas Cowboys, are forming a similar pact, this time between the artists and the jocks. The Jones family has kicked off an ongoing initiative to commission contemporary artists to create site-specific installations for the newly completed Cowboys Stadium. The initial blitz of 14 works includes pieces by such art world luminaries as Franz Ackermann, Annette Lawrence, and Oafur Eliasson. See more after the jump. "From top to bottom, we're taking a whole new approach to what a national sports arena can be," said Jerry Jones in a press release. "Cowboys Stadium isn't just a place to go and see a game or a concert, it's an experience you share with your family and your community. That will include things that a lot of people wouldn't anticipate seeing at a stadium—like contemporary art. Football is full of the unexpected and the spontaneous—it can make two strangers into friends. Art has the power to do that too, to get people talking, and looking, and interacting. It's not just about what you see on the field or on the wall, it's about creating exciting experiences." The works will be installed in the areas of the stadium that have the highest concentration of pedestrian traffic, including the four principal entries and the two monumental staircases. The artists have already begun the installation process, and most of the initial 14 pieces will be in place in time for the first regular season game against the New York Giants on September 20. "We're breathing new life into a tradition that extends back to the Greeks and Romans, who integrated the art of their time in stadiums where the best athletes gathered to compete," said Gene Jones. "The art program at Cowboys Stadium brings this dialogue between art and sport into the modern day. We're making it possible for some of the worlds leading contemporary artists to create work on scale unimaginable anywhere else and we're connecting new audiences with their work." An advisory council helped the Jones family select the artists and works for the program. The members of this committee included Michael Auping, Chief Curator, Museum of Modern Art, Fort Worth and Charlie Wylie, Lupe Murchison Curator of Contemporary Art, Dallas Museum of Art. Other artists selected include Ricci Albenda, Mel Bochner, Doug Aitken, Teresita Fernandez, Terry Haggerty, Dave Muller, and Lawrence Weiner. As part of the initiative the Jones family will also be creating an art education program, which will include art tours of the stadium.