On the 28th of this month, Your Rainbow Panorama will open to the public on top of the roof of the ARoS museum in Arhus, Denmark. Your Rainbow Panoramais a circular walkway designed by artist Olafur Eliasson, glazed with colors that circle the spectrum in a kind of habitable color wheel. Olafur’s scheme beat entries by Dominique Perrault, DS+R, and Maya Lin to win the ’Sky Space’ competition hosted by the museum in 2007, just three years after Schmidt Hammer Lassen completed the brick museum that now serves as a pedestal. From the museum’s website:
The wish to make use of the roof space was founded while the museum building was still on the drawing board. Therefore, the roof construction was reinforced from the start in order to make a future realization of the urban roof space project possible. The main concept of the museum is based on the ”Divine Comedy” of Dante and with the ”Sky Space” the link between heaven and hell is completed – the latter represented by the exhibition area ”The 9 Rooms” in the basement of the museum with works by artists such as Bill Viola, James Turrell, Tony Oursler and Pipilotti Rist.
Some museum officials have called the project a halo. It isn’t too far-fetched, formally, but the contrasts Your Rainbow Panorama sets up (shape, color and transparency compared to the museum below) do not make the overall museum appear more angelic to me. It makes the museum less monolithic and more interesting, and actually sabotages the pristine white circulation space of the original museum. This addition is actually a kind of mechanism that challenges and changes the museum, introducing new wavelengths of color and likely waves of new visitors. I just wish I could be one of them later this month.
P.S. In 2007, Artists Thyra Hilden & Pio Diaz set the museum on fire, a subversive act that wasn’t actually subversive at all.