Solar Passage

Commissioned for Familjebostäder, Stockholm, Solar Passage consists of five glowing “solar discs” and an artificially heated bathing rock installed in front of Kvarteret Torken, an apartment complex built in 2011. The five luminous discs, reflecting a rainbow of colors, identify the sun’s position at each hour of the day. Linked to a computer with 365 daily lighting scenarios, the discs are a modern sundial on which the viewer can intuitively read both the time of day and the season. The discs glow yellow at noon, with just a hint of blue horizon at the edges of the outermost circles. At night they pulsate a deep midnight blue.

The sunbathing rock provides a touch of the natural surroundings that were altered when the building was erected. The main entrance, with steps up to the courtyard, appears to have been built around the rock, where visitors can sit down and watch traffic in the roundabout. While sitting on the rock, visitors can feel a simulation of the residual warmth of the sun after a long summer day. This is even more noticeable in the colder, darker parts of the year, when the rock continues to provide a warming break for passers-by.

The concept behind Solar Passage was to try to restore a bit of the natural world in the built environment. The sun rarely finds its way to the north side of city buildings, where the entrance is located; normally you can only guess where the sun may be.


"Solar Passage," 2011
DMX-controlled LEDs, steel, acrylic,jemonite, heating system
Dimensions variable
Illustration by Johan Mets
"Solar Passage." Photo: Michael Perlmutter