Olafur Eliasson finishes first building
Olafur Eliasson, an Icelandic-Danish sculptor and installation artist, has completed his first building and successfully marked his foray into the world of architecture.
His artwork is known to play with light, shape and the movement of the eye to create designs which are mind-bending. His interest in subjects as diverse as Buddhism, phenomenology and gestalt psychology all pull through into his work – and, it seems, into his architecture as well.
Working on behalf of Kirk Kapital, a business and investment holdings company owned and operated by the family of Lego founder Ole Kirk Kristiansen, Eliasson has done something quite remarkable for his first architectural project.
Known as Fjordenhus, this new office is located in the waters of Denmark’s Vejle Fjord and is constructed from 970,000 bricks. The client’s brief described a need to emphasise the beauty found in the natural light, weather and seasons of the fjord.
Rising from the waters on stilts, the Fjordenhus is made from 15 different shades of unglazed brick, artful hollows and sheets of curved glass which create different shapes and patterns depending on what the light is like and where you are standing. In this way, your eye will follow different lines each time you look at the building. This is a unique, beautiful construct and it bodes well for the future of Eliasson’s new architectural studio. We can hope he begins to get more and larger commissions in the near future.
Whilst this news is interesting in itself, another notable aspect of this intriguing building is that it continues the trend of modern architects being as much artists as they are draughtsmen.
The most famous example of this is probably Heatherwick Studios, run by Thomas Heatherwick, a studio which has proven itself to be equally as able to work on grand mixed-use developments as it is pieces of furniture and sculpture.
It is likely that the idea of the artist-architect will continue to gather steam into the future as we continue to build more unusual buildings and cities which are inspired by nature rather than utilitarianism. Architects who can’t imagine their way beyond boxy buildings are unlikely to prosper in the future, whereas those who can do something a bit more interesting will continue to find favour with clients.