New Olympus European Headquarters

Olympus Zentrale, Wendenstraße 18, Hammerbrook, Hamburg


Artistic scheme designed by Brian Clarke for the new European Headquarters of Olympus Optical in Hamburg, a building designed by Knueppel & Faber and opened in 1999. The modern stained glass facade and ceiling, a composition totalling 500 square metres of float glass screenprinted with ceramic glazes in a novel technique originated by the artist, was coupled with a Venetian glass smalti mosaic of 40 square metres. Located opposite Olympus' former European headquarters at 16 Wendenstraße, where Brian designed a programme of integral stained glass art, modular paintings and constructions in 1981. Both buildings was demolished in around 2016.

"This commission is exactly 20 years since the work I completed for Olympus in the older headquarters building in Wendenstraße. It was a great privilege and an enormous creative challenge to be invited to artistically revisit the project and contribute a new piece for Olympus and the new building. The artwork is expressed using technologies that have existed for a while, but this combination of float glass, printing, computer manipulation and the artist's hand is something I have working toward for a long time. It is a very new expression of artistic stained glass. The design is stored as computer data and can be recalled in order to recreate any panel or all of the composition should it be required." – from 'British artist Brian Clarke puts his signature on the new Olympus Building' by Sheila Hutchins, OLYMPUS, November 2000.

"Using the combined media of stained glass and mosaic Brian Clarke has executed a remarkable artwork for the new European headquarters building for Olympus Cameras in Hamburg, Germany. The work of art is 540 square metres in total, comprising the ceiling, facade and floor of the lobby of the building. Using a glass medium similar to that which saw its first expression in the Al Faisaliah Centre, Riyadh the composition features a series of brushstrokes conveyed by a veil of dots and glass mosaic smalti. The internal experience envelopes the viewer and evokes waterfalls, Mediterranean skies and flowing water."

"Optisch soll das Gebäude, das über eine Tiefgarage mit 120 Plätzen verfügt, ein Hingucker werden. Die beiden Flügel der Sandsteinfassade werden durch ein Foyer mit Glasfassade sowie einer verglasten Dachkonstruktion verbunden. Dadurch soll eine gute Entlüftung im Sommer und eine natürliche Wärmespeicherung im Winter ermöglicht werden. Mit der künstlerischen Gestaltung der Glasfassade wurde der Engländer Brian Clarke beauftragt, der bereits 1981 die Gestaltung der Eingangshalle des Olympus-Hauptgebäudes übernommen hatte." – Die Welt, 1999.