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New Permanent Work by Olafur Eliasson is Now on the Roof of Danish Art Museum
Olafur Eliasson, Your rainbow panorama. Photo: Ole Hein Pedersen. © 2006 - 2011 Olafur Eliasson.

AARHUS.- First he created a sun for London. Then he created a waterfall for New York. Now the Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson has created a rainbow for Aarhus.

Your rainbow panorama, a new work by Olafur Eliasson is now on the roof of the Danish art museum ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum. The world-famous Danish-Icelandic artist has created this permanent work of art consisting of a circular, 150-metre-long and three metre-wide circular walkway in glass in all the colours of the spectrum. Mounted on slender columns 3.5 metres above the roof and with a diameter of 52 metres, this spectacular creation extends from one edge to the other of the facade of the cubic museum building.

There are both stairs and elevator to provide visitors to the museum with access to Your rainbow panorama. Then they can stroll through the circular, panoramic walkway providing a fantastic view of the city and the bay, a view in all the colours of the rainbow.

Beneath the “floating” work of art, the actual roof surface of c. 1500 square metres is covered with sturdy timber making the surface into a unique recreational area and a viewing platform for visitors to the museum some fifty metres about street level. The roof terrace was financed by Koebmand Herman Sallings Fond. There is full access to both the roof terrace and to Olafur Eliasson’s creation.

The following words are taken from the artist’s own description of his work: “Your rainbow panorama” establishes a dialogue with the existing architecture and reinforces what was already there, that is to say the view across the city. I have created a space that can almost be said to erase the boundary between inside and outside – a place where you become a little uncertain as to whether you have stepped into a work of art or into part of the museum. This uncertainty is important to me, as it encourages people to think and sense beyond the limits within which they are accustomed to function.”

In 2007, Olafur Eliasson won the competition for an artistic/architectonic work to stand on the roof of the cubic museum building designed by schmidt hammer lassen architects. The jury was completely unanimous in selecting this winning project, and they endorsed their choice in part with the following words: “The project is an elegant solution to the objective of the competition, which was to convert the roof surface of ARoS into a unique, artistic and architectonic feature of international standing. The project creates a very beautiful, poetical space that combines the panoramic view from the roof with a unique artistic and architectonic dimension that helps develop a new understanding of the borderline between architecture and visual art. At the same time, a powerful symbol of identity is created and established for ARoS and the city of Aarhus.”

Your rainbow panorama on the roof of ARoS represents the completion of the building’s idea, which was inspired by the Renaissance poet Dante Alighieri’s story in “The Divine Comedy” of the nine circles of Hell and the journey up from the mountain of Purgatory, ending in perfection in Paradise. In ARoS this is translated into the exhibition concept represented by the 9 Rooms in the basement, the journey up through the galleries and the art exhibited there, finishing with Your rainbow panorama on the roof as a symbol of perfection.

• Your rainbow panorama is supported on 12 columns resting on a load-distributing steel structure beneath the terrace surface

• Your rainbow panorama is stabilised to resist wind pressure by being attached to the existing museum construction in four places on the roof

• The internal measurements of Your rainbow panorama are 3 metres in width and 3 metres in height

• The glass in Your rainbow panorama consists of 2 x 12 mm laminated glass composed of up to 6 coloured sheets creating the individual shades in Your rainbow panorama. For the sake of personal safety, the two layers of glass have been heat-reinforced and laminated together around the coloured sheets

• Your rainbow panorama is naturally ventilated via a controlled system of small vents that are built into the work’s floor and ceiling

• If the work should be enveloped in smoke in the case of fire outside, all the vents will be closed

• The steel used in Your rainbow panorama weighs 200 tons

• The glass used in Your rainbow panorama weighs 60 tons

• The steps leading up from the terrace level to Your rainbow panorama weigh 15 tons

• The steel for the load-distributing steel construction beneath the terrace floor weighs 100 tons

• The steel construction is designed to be able to give in warm weather and to stand any vibrations

• The floor of the roof terrace is made up of 11,000 metres of FSC-marked Yellow Balau wood

• During the hours of darkness, Your rainbow panorama will be illuminated by means of lamps in the floor

• The lamps are adjusted so that the play of colours in each section of glass will be completely in accordance with Olafur Eliasson’s wishes

• In order to cope with this work, the structure of the actual ARoS building has been reinforced both horizontally and vertically

• There is space for altogether 290 visitors at a time on the roof terrace and 150 in Your rainbow panorama

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