Hi there, how are you all? Did you see the striking photos of Harpa from the morning? That’s not all, folks – here are some more images of the interiors by Adriana Pacheco. enjoy!

The home of the Icelandic symphony orchestra and Icelandic Opera, it also hosts wide array of other concerts and cultural events, including our upcoming DesignTalks among other DesignMarch 2014 events. The building was designed by the Danish Henning Larsen Architects in collaboration with Icelandic Batteriid architects and Landslag for the plaza, while the façade is by the Icelandic-Danish artist Ólafur Eliasson.


The three large halls are placed next to each other. Seen from the foyer, the halls form a mountain-like massif that similar to basalt rock on the coast forms a stark contrast to the expressive and open facade. At the core of the rock, the largest hall, the Concert Hall, reveals its interior as a red-hot center of force.

The facades are made of glass and steel in a twelve-sided space-filling geometric modular system called the ‘quasibrick’. The southern façade is composed of over 1000 quasibricks.

The remaining façades and the roof are made of sectional representations of this geometric system, resulting in two-dimensional flat façades of five and sixsided structural frames.

Transparency and light are key elements of this build; working with these the aim was to dematerialise the building as a static entity, thus making it receptive to the changes in its surroundings as well as creating shifts in its appearance when viewed from various angles in the city and from the sea

The sculptural mirror ceiling amplifies the striking impact of the facade.

Harpa received the Mies van der Rohe 2013 Award for its design. Wiel Arets, Chair of the Jury, said,

Harpa has captured the myth of a nation – Iceland – that has consciously acted in favour of a hybrid-cultural building during the middle of the ongoing Great Recession. The iconic and transparent porous ‘quasi brick’ appears as an ever-changing play of coloured light, promoting a dialogue between the city of Reykjavik and the building’s interior life. By giving an identity to a society long known for its sagas, through an interdisciplinary collaboration between Henning Larsen Architects and artist Olafur Eliasson, this project is an important message to the world and to the Icelandic people, fulfilling their long expected dream.

Remember that a seminar on The Mies van der Rohe 2013 award will be held on Thursday and the exhibition mapping the past 25 years of the award is currently on display in the building. See you in Harpa!


Photographer: Adriana Pacheco