Posted by on Jul 27, 2016 in 2004, Austria, Land Art

How This Artwork Provides a Holistic Sensory Experience

Article by Frank Bourque

The holistic sensory experience of the Scent Tunnel, by Olafur Eliasson, in Autostadt Park, Austria

There are many new and innovative art works that bring the best of the modern world. One of them is Olafur Eliason’s Scent Tunnel, a majestic experience and an artwork that happens every spring in Austria.

As humans, we are born to see, breathe, enjoy and appreciate the beauty of life. When brought together, all of these senses can become a part of an eye-opening experience that feeds the soul and creates a pleasant emotion.

Olafur Eliasson is a unique Austrian artist who sees art from another point of view. His unique masterpiece is named ‘The Scent Tunnel’ and refers to an art event happening each spring in the Autostadt Park in Austria.

Contemporary and holistic, Olafur’s approach to art is tailored to each one of the human senses. The Scent Tunnel is a large construction that acts as a bridge across a little waterway between the Audi and Lamborghini Pavilions.

Holistic Sensory Experience

Scent Tunnel. © 2004 Olafur Eliasson

Creating art in a modern space like this best pictures Olafur’s vision for movement and rootedness within the park.
The Scent Tunnel is a construction that is both a tunnel and a bridge. However, it is nowhere near the bridges and tunnels we know of. Its elements are made of nature and reinvented with technology forming a unique artwork that encompasses each visitor with emotion. It is made so that visitors can walk through the tunnel on a steel grating and get amazed by the new form of art created by this unique combination.

Holistic Sensory Experience

This art-in-motion leverages a cutting-edge technology and turns in a circular way, therefore overwhelming every art enthusiast with the constant motion, the picturesque flowers and most importantly, the unique and unforgettable scent that is the result of this rotation.

That being said, ‘The Scent Tunnel’ is a form of art that triggers each of the senses and lets you dig deeper in the meaning of art, introducing its brand new form.

The Secret Message Behind The Scent Tunnel

The Scent Tunnel is not just a rotating tunnel full of flowers and elements of nature. Its main focus, as the name suggests, is to capture the nose of visitors and overwhelms them with fresh, unique and sensory smells.

The entire model is built by Olafur Eliasson as a new form of art, which is more than just art. First and foremost, the tunnel is powered via a rotating technology giving the carefully picked plants a unique smell while they are moving and resulting with an eye opening experience for every visitor.

Holistic Sensory Experience

Scent Tunnel. © 2004 Olafur Eliasson

Speaking of flowers, Olafur is very careful when selecting them and using them within ‘The Scent Tunnel’. In fact, every season ‘holds’ a new set of flowers within ‘The Scent Tunnel’, letting the visitors know how never-ending and constantly changing nature is and how Olafur’s art lives up to the same premise.

There are six types of plants used in this art: yellow wallflower (Cheiranthus cheiri), horned violet (Viola cornuta), heliotrope (Heliotropium arborescens), lesser calamint (Calamintha nepeta), lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), and sage (Salvia officinalis).

From smell and sight to the experience of a moving space, The Scent Tunnel aims to hypnotize people with the power of nature yet show them how vital technology is nowadays and how it can be used to create amazing art pieces.
Aside from this, The Scent Tunnel has a deeper message. It holds the key to the constantly moving world, the presence of technology and the enormous need for nature we as human species need. As Olafur Eliasson likes to put it with his own words: If contrary to everything we are used to we have to enter a rotating object to experience it fully, we become that artwork’s co-producer”.

Holistic Sensory Experience

Scent Tunnel. © 2004 Olafur Eliasson

In other words, Olafur’s art is not made to open the mouths of visitors and make them shoot it from every angle. It is made to create a difference and award each visitor with the eyes of the artist and a nose that is ready to experience new scents.

Constantly rotating and secretly making you think about it, The Scent Tunnel has emerged into a major attraction that welcomes people from every country to Austria in order to experience it with their own eyes, mind and nose.
See The Scent Tunnel For Yourself

The best part about the Scent Tunnel?

Just like the tunnel keeps on moving, the flowers keep on changing. The Scent Tunnel has been here ever since 2004 and lasts for months until the autumn season kicks in. During this period, the tunnel gets filled with different flowers every month making you adapt to nature, see the wonders of technology and welcome each new month with the best scents handpicked from nature.

Holistic Sensory Experience

Scent Tunnel. © 2004 Olafur Eliasson

What sort of amusement can a rotating tunnel give?

Along with the landscape and the exact placement on a bridge, The Scent Tunnel is fit right into nature and has a unique location that cannot be mimicked. And that is why as an art event, Olafur Eliasson’s masterpiece happens in the same time and the same place every single year with scents, colors, flowers and moving architecture blended within it.

A Final Word on this Holistic Sensory Experience

Artists have always been trapped inside their creative mindset. Only a few of them have managed to ‘escape’ from it and show the world why their vision is worth it. Olafur Eliasson is definitely one of them an artist that has transformed his fascination of the sensory perceptions and blended it within a park.

More importantly, with The Scent Tunnel,Olafur shows us how simultaneous and dependant on nature and technology artworks can be. By stepping out of your comfort zone just like Olafur did, you are welcomed to Austria to experience this mind-blowing art and balance your senses while enjoying the bridge of art and architecture.


Holistic Sensory Experience

Scent Tunnel. © 2004 Olafur Eliasson

Full Project Credits For the Scent Tunnel :

Project Name: Scent Tunnel
Designer: Olafur Eliasson
Location: Autostadt Park, Austria
Date of Construction: 2004
Client: Autostadt GmbH

Recommended Reading:

Article by Frank Bourque

Article by Mai Nguyen - Art Installation at the Nature Concert Hall 2016, by DJA (Didzis Jaunzems Architecture), in Zalenieki Manor, Latvia Landscape architecture in general is the comprehensive arrangement of different components to create a better exterior space experience. The scale of landscape design can vary from a regional forest…
Article by Selen Öztürk Elytra Filament Pavilion, a collaborative project in Victoria and Albert Museum, John Madejski Garden, London, England,  United Kingdom Elytra Filament Pavilion, a biomimetic installation by Achim Menges, Moritz Dörstelmann, Jan Knippers and Thomas Auer, in the Victoria and Albert Museum’s John Madejski Garden, London. Can nature contribute to…


Landscape Architects Network is here to help you get involved, stay connected and inspire you to love your outdoor environment.