When Art meets Architecture


ARoS Schmidt Hammer Lassen rainbow panorama

Photo by Ole Hein Pedersen


ARoS Schmidt Hammer Lassen rainbow panorama1

Photo by Ole Hein Pedersen


ARoS Schmidt Hammer Lassen rainbow panorama2

Photo by Ole Hein Pedersen


Art Aarhus City Tower Arkitema Architects2


Art Aarhus City Tower Arkitema Architects1.1


Art Aarhus City Tower Arkitema Architects5


Art Aarhus City Tower Arkitema Architects4


Art Aarhus City Tower Arkitema Architects3


When Art meets Architecture

When architecture and art are brought together it adds an extra dimension. The clear lines of architecture are challenged and embraced in the meeting with the creative art scene, resulting in an extraordinary symbiosis. “Art is not decoration. Art is supposed to become a part of the building, so that the building and the art supplement each other, making it all come together,” says Bjarne Hammer, Senior Partner at Schmidt Hammer Lassen.

A Painting on Fire

Arkitema Architects has designed a 23-storey City Tower in the Danish city Aarhus, creating a new landmark for the town. It is home to a hotel and various companies, and includes underground parking. Not only, is it the second tallest building in Aarhus, but it also merges architecture with art created by Danish artist Peter Skovgaard. “We wanted the hallway to be able to embrace all the different people that come through it. By adding the artwork, we created a space that embraces and welcomes the visitor. 2D and 3D supplement each other as the space and the architecture meet the artwork,” says the Senior Creative Manager at Arkitema, Mette Skibsholt, adding, “the artwork possesses a lot of qualities and with this project the qualities from the art world and the architectural scene melts together”.

Abstract motifs decorate three metre large acrylic glass plates that are lit up by LED strip lights, making the artwork change colour every minute. The ever-changing expression makes a magnificent contrast to the sleek and minimalistic form of the building. Peter Skovgaard explains, “You could say that I set fire to the painting. It is a bit old school in contrast to the building and slightly informal compared to the very formal building. It is a deliberate way to enhance the contrasts”.

Peter Skovgaard’s art continues upwards as you ascend the floor to where the accountancy firm Deloitte’s office is. A 28 metre long artwork embellishes the wall and doors of the hallway. As a complete contrast to the downstairs artwork, this one is matt and sets a beautiful background to the amazing view you have over the city from this floor. The different expressions of the two artworks supplement each other and connect the diverse functions of each floor by interacting with the architecture, which, as a result, seems more spacious. “When art meets architecture in the right way, both the architecture as well as the art reach a new dimension. It is a demanding process but is successful when both parties are humble” says Peter Skovgaard.


The View from a Rainbow

Your Rainbow Panorama, by Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson, is another artwork that embellishes the skyline of Aarhus on top of the ARoS art museum. Ever since ARoS was designed, a part of the idea was to add some sort of artwork on top of the building to create a new dimension. Your Rainbow Panorama is the result of a close collaboration with Danish architecture company Schmidt Hammer Lassen, the building owner and Olafur Eliasson, and a great example of what can happen when art and architecture merge together. “There is no doubt that Your Rainbow Panorama as an artwork supplement the building in a very distinguished way, both geometrically, as well as proportionally, but  also on a more philosophical level it completes Dante’s story “From Heaven to Hell”, which is the idea that ARoS is based upon. Furthermore, the artwork also adds something very unique to the city and the way in which you experience the city. The artwork enhances the way in which we experience the city and the building,” says Morten Schmidt, Senior Partner at Schmidt Hammer Lassen.

Your Rainbow Panorama is a large round circle that you can walk inside, while a big silver ball in the centre of the circle projects different colours as the visitor moves through the artwork. You will experience a feeling of walking inside a rainbow while looking over the city of Aarhus.  With Your Rainbow Panorama, architecture and art merge and present a new fundamental experience of the city’s skyline.


Look up

By the harbour in Copenhagen, you will find the Royal Library, which is much more than just a place for books. There, you can enjoy a magnificent view, beautiful architecture and impressive art. Just like ARoS, the new section of the Royal Library from 1999 is designed by Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects. It is called the Black Diamant and has a façade consisting of 2,500 m2 of granite that mirrors the sky and sea connecting the city with the harbour.

When you walk up to the third floor there is a bridge connecting the new and the old library, and when you look up you find a 210 m2 oval-shaped mural created by the Danish artist Per Kierkeby.

“Per Kierkeby created the mural, which is located above the bridge that connects the old and the new library. Not only does the bridge connect the two parts of the library internally, it is also visible from the outside. It is visible from Christians Brygge, the public street directly below the bridge. This makes the mural into a form of street art – most likely the biggest of its kind in Copenhagen. Therefore, this particular place becomes a focal point for the experiencing of the building,” explains Bjarne Hammer.

The painting emphasizes the transition from old to new and the abstract lines invite the spectator to stop and reflect and to allow oneself to get lost in the painting.“In Per Kierkeby’s artworks, we find that he has a special understanding of building integrated art. He is a master at working in this scale and he is a fabulous narrator.  His pieces contain several layers of narration,” says Bjarne Hammer.


Companies mentioned in this article

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