Ólafur Elíasson

Playing with the elements

Ólafur Elíasson works with elemental materials such as light, water, air and temperature. The Icelandic-Danish artist is represented in Munich's public spaces with impressive works.


The eight-tonne spiral ball Sphere in the downtown shopping centre Fünf Höfe is not to be missed: if you stand below it and look up, you are looking into a distinct space, the interior of the ball. Ólafur Elíasson wanted this work to symbolise the interconnectedness of our world.

Location: Fünf Höfe, Theatinerstraße 15, 80333 München



Wirbelwerk is the title of the spectacular spiral that Ólafur Elíasson has created for the atrium of the new Lenbachhaus art museum. The gemstone-like kaleidoscopic sculpture spirals down from the ceiling. The work is made up of approximately 450 coloured glass and metal platelets, which reflect the light onto the surrounding walls in bright spots.

Location: Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, Luisenstraße 33, 80333 München



For the new German headquarters of auditors KPMG in the Westend, Elíasson designed an up-and-down pair of staircases, endlessly cycling in double helix form, titled Doppelhelix.

Location: Ganghoferstraße 29, 80339 München



His "Bühnenfenster" on the rehearsal building of the Staatsoper (State Opera) on Marstallplatz reflects the sky, the building, the square as well as the people on the square, creating a dialogue between reality and illusion. "I've tried to make it possible to experience this public space more intensely," commented Ólafur Elíasson, talking about his work.

Location: Probengebäude am Marstallplatz, Marstallplatz 5, 80539 München



With the living moss wall on the façade of Munich Re (the insurance company: Münchener Rückversicherung) Elíasson brings nature directly into the day-to-day working life of the company's employees. The Italian tufa stone was injected with mosses from Brittany. As the seasons pass, the plants change colour and therefore so does the façade.

Location: Gedonstraße 8, 80802 München, near Englischer Garten



Photo: Werner Böhm


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