Olafur Eliasson describes the project Your rainbow panorama in the following words: “Your rainbow panorama enters into a dialogue with the existing architecture and reinforces what is assured beforehand, that is to say the view of the city. I have created a space which virtually erases the boundaries between inside and outside – where people become a little uncertain as to whether they have stepped into a work 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 moving”.
The realization of this unique rooftop project has been made possible through a partnership between ARoS, the Municipality of Aarhus and Realdania, in that Realdania are financing the establishment of Your rainbow panorama. Olafur Eliasson has created this permanent work of art in the form of a circular walkway 150 metres in extent and three metres wide made in glass in all the colours of the spectrum. The spectacular work of art has a diameter of 52 metres and is mounted on slender columns 3.5 metres above the roof surface of the museum. Visitors to the museum will have access to this great work of art via stairs and lifts. They can take a stroll such as will delight the senses round this circular pathway, which will provide them with panoramic views of the surrounding city and Århus Bay.
Beneath the “floating” work of art, the actual roof area and its c. 1500 square metres has been covered with wood, so the surface constitutes a unique recreational area and viewing platform for visitors to the museum fifty metres above street level. Your rainbow panorama will be visible from a great distance, and as you will see different colours according to where you are in the city, the work acts as a compass. At night, Your rainbow panorama is lit up from inside by spotlights embedded in the floor.
The ARoS building is built on the concept of Dante’s “Divine Comedy”, and with the realization of the rooftop project the connection between heaven and the underworld will be complete – the latter in the form of the exhibition concept “The 9 Spaces” in the basement level of the museum, with works by Bill Viola, James Turrell, Tony Oursler, and Pipilotti Rist, amongst others; the former with Your rainbow panorama. The building of this extensive art project commenced in 2009, and summer 2010 saw the start of the installation of the now completed walkway. The work has cost 60 million kroner and has been financed by Realdania, while the cost of the roof terrace has been borne by Købmand Herman Sallings Fond. Aarhus Municipality is the authority responsible for the project.
Amongst the panel of judges behind the rooftop project for ARoS there was no doubt as to the winner, once Olafur Eliasson’s project in 2007 was selected for the competition from the five proposals. In the panel’s deliberation this was stated, amongst other things, about the winning proposal: “The project complies in a brilliant way with the competition’s aim to convert ARoS‘ rooftop surface to a unique artistic and architectural sight of international stature. The proposal creates an extremely beautiful and poetic place, which unifies the panoramic view from the roof with an exceptional artistic-architectural dimension, contributing to the development of a new understanding of the visual art interface of architecture. It also establishes a strong identity-creating landmark for ARoS and Aarhus city.”