James Turrell and Schmidt Hammer Lassen want to set imaginations free with vast Dome installation

The director of our museum is a very forward-looking person. He thinks it’s absolutely crucial for young people to be exposed heavily to art
– Morten Schmidt, co-founder of Schmidt Hammer Lassen

Spirituality, creativity and artistic freedom are driving a major collaboration between architects Schmidt Hammer Lassen and light artist James Turrell for the ARos Aarhus Art Museum, the co-founder of the Danish practice has told CLAD.

Morten Schmidt said that the vast installation being installed as part of the museum’s €40m (US$43, £31m) expansion plan, the Next Level, will allow visitors to “experience real colour and energy” as art and architecture are merged to create a new type of civic experience.

The project will see the addition of a 1,200sq m (12,900sq ft) underground gallery and a gigantic semi-subterranean art installation called The Dome, described by the team as “one of the most spectacular spaces ever built into an art museum.”

“The scale is incredible,” said Schmidt. “The director of our museum [Erlend Høyersten] is a very forward-looking person. He thinks it’s absolutely crucial for young people to be exposed heavily to art.

"Everything they see on TV is so pre-determined and without spontaneity that they’re not using the artistic part of their brain enough. So he really wants them to come in and experience something real and memorable.”

Visitors to the attraction will face “an experience in colour and light” as they travel through a string of galleries and exhibition spaces, stretching almost 120m (393.7ft) below the surface, until they reach the inside of the spectacular Dome, which is 40m (131.2ft) in diameter and rises to 9m (29.5ft) above ground level.

Schmidt Hammer Lassen are the original designers of the museum, which opened in 2004, and worked with Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson in 2011 to build Your Rainbow Panorama; a luminous circular artwork that hovers permanently on the building’s roof.

Schmidt claimed the new installation, which will open for the public in 2020, has been conceived to create a spiritual experience. “James Turrell is a very spiritual person, he’s a Quaker, and he’s very in tune with concepts such as reincarnation and the spirit world.

“The funny thing he’s very much into Rudolf Steiner and anthroposophy [an esoteric spiritual movement that teaches that wellbeing and an understanding of the spiritual nature of humanity and the universe can be achieved through scientific study]. I went to a Rudolf Steiner school, Turrell did, and the director of the museum did as well. So in that way we are a trio, and that background has lined our thinking with this project.”

Turrell is one of the world's leading artists working with light and colours, with permanent installations in over 26 countries. The Next Level is his biggest project within a museum context.

Schmidt Hammer Lassen are developing a number of projects, including a new public centre for the city of Stavanger, Norway, an art gallery and clubhouse on a lake in southern China, and a cultural district in Shanghai.

James Turrell  Schmidt Hammer Lassen  the Next Level  light art  design  spirituality  Rudolf Steiner  anthroposophy  ARos Aarhus Art Museum 
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Spirituality, creativity and artistic freedom are driving a major collaboration between architects Schmidt Hammer Lassen and light artist James Turrell for the ARos Aarhus Art Museum, the co-founder of the Danish practice has told CLAD. Morten Schmidt said that the vast installation being installed as part of the museum’s €40m (US$43, £31m) expansion plan, the Next Level, will allow visitors to “experience real colour and energy” as art and architecture
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The project will see the addition of a 1,200sq m (12,900sq ft) underground gallery and a gigantic semi-subterranean art installation called The Dome to ARos Aarhus Art Museum / Schmidt Hammer Lassen
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