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Brief Published: 19 Aug 2011

Reykjavik’s Harpa Concert Hall


When it opens on Saturday August 20, the Harpa Concert Hall in Reykjavik will add a luminescent new presence to the Icelandic capital’s harbour – and potentially an iconic landmark for the country.

Its key architectural feature is a multi-coloured, gravity defying angled exterior created by one of the country’s most famous sons, Danish-Icelandic artist Ólafur Elíasson. The bulk of the design comes courtesy of Danish architect Henning Larsen Architects and Icelandic practice Batteríið.

Acclaimed for his 2003 show, Weather Project at the Tate Modern in London, Elíasson called on his passion for weather again when seeking inspiration for the Harpa Concert Hall design.

Referencing Iceland’s extreme seasonal shifts in daylight, pinks and yellows dance across the remarkable, almost entirely transparent, façade of the building. These emulate the ethereal luminescence of Iceland’s mid-summer skies. LED lights will be used in winter to artificially produce the same effect.

The Harpa Concert Hall’s 258,000sq ft has been designed to hold up to 1,800 people and is already boasting artists such as Icelandic native Bjork in October and Elvis Costello in November.


Ólafur Elíasson 

Henning Larsen Architects