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Water under

Olafur Eliasson's Cirkelbroen Bridge in Copenhagen paired with Club Monaco Lisette Dress.

Olafur Eliasson’s Cirkelbroen Bridge in Copenhagen paired with Club Monaco Lisette Dress.


 

More than 7,000 people attended the Aug. 22 opening of Olafur Eliasson’s Cirkelbroen Bridge last week in Copenhagen, an instant tribute to the stunning work of civic art. Crossing a canal in the Christianshavn neighborhood, the design channels Eliasson’s childhood memories of hop-skipping between boats strung along Icelandic harbors. Five circular platforms orbiting around staggered masts create a jagged route for commuters to cross and pedestrians to ponder, as some 5,000 people are expected to do daily – a meeting place, a vantage point, a conduit and a communion.

In his art, Eliasson harnesses transient natural materials – wind, fog, flowing water – into monumental installations, as he did so deftly in The New York City Waterfalls in 2008. Cirkelbroen finds him applying this approach to urban ephemerality, the “atmosphere of a space,” as he describes in an Arch Daily interview. “Obviously, one cannot plan atmosphere, as it is co-produced by the people who use the space, but it is possible to nurture an atmosphere, to allow it to grow,” he said. “As an artist, I work with abstract and emotional qualities, so this is where, I believe, art can play a role. I’m convinced that politicians, urban planners, and developers need to expand their toolbox by bringing in what I would call creative reality producers – artists, social scientists, sociologists, anthropologists, historians, dancers, poets, environmental activists, and philosophers – to rethink urban spaces.”

Stability amid transience, creative reality amid urban planning: both comforting thoughts in a time of change.

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