Kvadrat, Ebeltoft, Denmark

Your Glacial Expectations

Client: Kvadrat A/S
Architecture: Poulsen & Partnere
Partner title: Art
Partner: Studio Olafur Eliasson, Berlin
Period: 2008 – 2012
Surface area: 60 000m2

A simple and yet complex landscape was the result of an early collaboration between the studio of Olafur Eliason and VOGT. In its design, Your glacial expectations refers to the glaciers that formed the landscape around the textile company Kvadrat headquarters in Ebeltoft, Denmark, as can still be seen in the site’s topography and geology. The project does not end at the property boundaries, but incorporates the entire surrounding landscape. Building, technical installations, and parking lot have all been integrated into the landscaping. 

Yet directly in the rambling meadows, Eliasson’s five oval mirrors form a series ranging from a perfect circle to ever more elongated ellipses. The mirrors reflect the ever-changing sky above and the contemplator’s own gaze as if in the frozen surfaces of glacial pools. The reflection inverses the relationship of what is outside and what is inside. A piece of the grand Danish sky, uncontrollable nature in itself, is transposed into the cultivated, man-made landscape, now lying there as a clipping of its former self within the countryside. 

This blurring of the boundaries between above and below, inside and out, finds resonance in the landscape’s melding of wilderness and garden. The dense, clearly delineated groups of trees, planted by Vogt on slight elevations, may appear to be cultivated gardens from a distance. Up close, they are in fact slices of untamed wilderness. Although one might expect to be allowed to enter the wild groves, fences deny access – they are Gardens of Eden that cannot be entered. This interplay between interior and exterior, wilderness and garden, is repeatedly taken up in the design.