Studio Olafur Eliasson An Encyclopedia

by | 28. Sep 2012



Studio Olafur Eliasson is an experimental laboratory located in Berlin. Led by renowned Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson, it functions as an interdisciplinary space, generating fresh dialogues between art and its surroundings.

studio_olafur_eliasson_2.jpgPhoto courtesy Olafur Eliasson Studio

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The atmosphere in the Olafur Eliasson’s Studio is relaxed, professional, and productive – a mixture of architect’s practice and laboratory – and usually as busy as a small city. Eliasson has a staff of around 30. Some are permanent and have been there for several years; others are hired short-term to work on specific projects.After the workshop staff, the architects make up the largest group in the Studio. A large part of the work consisted of independently researching one’s own ideas, sketching models, and producing series of drawings. What they were used for and whether they would be included in an actual project was of secondary importance. Sebastian Behmann, who supervised a group of architects, told me that from an architect’s point of view, Eliasson sometimes seemd almost like a client. Behmann described him as someone who provided concepts and ideas, who approached the team of architects with precise wishes, asked for suggestions, and then selected the ones to be developed further.
/Philip Ursprung.
Excerpted from his introduction after visiting the Studio.

The backbone of the book is its 26 chapters, each devoted to a letter of the alphabet. The concepts – Architecture, Beauty, Color, Democracy, Experiment etc – are doors leading to the artist’s studio, to his ideas, his concepts, to accomplished artworks and unfinished experiments, to collections of material and to the archive.

Glacierhouse effect versus Greenhouse effect 2005

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The cylindrical pavilion with with a domed roof is build of thin tubular steel elements assembled into a faceted spiral structure, similar to that of Opera House chandeliers, and derived from the natural structure of ice.When the air temperature drops below zero, water is sprinkled at intervals from the oculus of the pavilion, running down around the steel tubes. As the water freezes the steel pavilion is enveloped in icicles.

Waterfall 1998

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Installed in both exterior and interior locations, the cascading waterfall evokes the sight, sounds, and rhythm of a natural waterfall. The clearly exposed construction allows viewers to understand the mechanism behind the phenomenon.

The Mediated Motion 2001

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Responding to the architecture of Peter Zumthor’s Kunsthaus Bregenz in Austria, Eliasson installed a large-scale four-level work in collaboration with landscape architect Gunther Vogt. A collection of logs sprouting shiitake mushrooms was arranged on the ground floor. Continuing to level one, visitors encountered a pond with floating duckweed, which they could cross via a series of pontoons.

studio_olafur_eliasson_8.jpgPhoto courtesy Olafur Eliasson Studio

studio_olafur_eliasson_9.jpgPhoto courtesy Olafur Eliasson Studio

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On level two, a floor of gently compressed soil could be traversed, and on level three, a suspension bridge spanned a foggy room and terminated abruptly at a blank wall, forcing visitors to return along their original route. A staircase of roughly hewn wood, built on top of the existing concrete stairs, created an unbroken transition from one landscape situation to the next.

Frost Activity 2004

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This floor pattern derives from a two-dimensional manifestation of the three-dimensional quasi bricks. The pattern is made using four different types of stone. The ceiling is lined with mirrors that reflect the floor as well as the visitors.

Your Invisible House 2005

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A steel pavilion with mirrored glazing comprises two similar parts, one within the other. Their geometry creates multiple perspectives that dematerialize the structure, and as the mirrors reflect the natural setting, the pavilion and its surroundings are intertwined.

Double Sunset 1999

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A yellow corrugated metal disk, 38 meters in diameter and supported by scaffolding , was positioned on top of an industrial building in the western part of Utrecht in the Netherlands. Floodlights situated on a neighboring building lit up the disk at dusk. Visible from across the city, it appeared like a second sunset alongside the actual sunset.

Your Rainbow Panorama 2011
ARoS Museum, Aarhus

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Henning Larsen Architects
Copenhagen Opera House 2004 

Installed in the foyer of the Opera House in Copenhagen , the three identical chandeliers consist of two sets of overlapping spirals that wrap around the spherical surfaces. The spirals are overlaid with a faceted diamond pattern. Several tones of color effect filter glass with dichromatic qualities form the surface between the geometric and steel frames.Depending on the position of the viewer, on the play of natural daylight, and the artficial light shining from inside the chandeliers, different colors appear.

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Henning Larsen Architects
Harpa Reykjavik 2011 Harpa, Reykjavik Concert Hall & Conference Centre, Reykjavik, Iceland
Glass Brick Facades

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Oslo Opera House 2008   
The Other Wall

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Alsion Sønderborg 2007
Music Wall

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Feelings are facts
Olafur Eliasson & Ma Yansong
Ullens Center for Contemporary Art 
Beijing, China

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Today I am Feeling Prismatic
Jamie Residence
Pasadena, California


Photo: arcspace

Art is a language. In itself it doesn’t communicate anything, but what is said with it is what gives it meaning. Art is not exclusive and does not delimit the boundaries of a closed sphere, but reaches beyond. And when the artistic language posits space and its users as its central agents, it can engage easily with architecture, science, and design. It can also raise social, political, ecological, aestethic, and ethical questions = any area of reality is a potential collaborator and offers ground to be explored. This multitude of realms with which it intertwines is what makes art so complex and exciting.
/Olafur Eliasson and Anna Engberg-Pedersen, Studio Olafur Eliasson

The majority of Eliasson’s thought-provoking installations, photographs, sculptures, and architectural projects to date is included, with additional material focusing on the research processes at Studio Olafur Eliasson. The introduction is provided by the noted art historian Philip Ursprung, who also participates in the conversations.

Link: Olafur Eliasson
Take a walk through Eliasson’s 2010 installation: “Your Blind Passenger