This Colorful Tunnel At SFMOMA Is Like Stepping Into A Kaleidoscope

Jamie Ferrell Jamie Ferrell

This Colorful Tunnel At SFMOMA Is Like Stepping Into A Kaleidoscope

One-Way Colour Tunnel is a must-see on your next museum visit.

SFMOMA has plenty of exciting exhibitions going on right now, including Nam June Paik, a giant multisensory exploration of technology; and Off the Wall, in which 5 artists transform photographs into sculpture. But this big glass tunnel, filled with intricately arranged colorful triangles, is definitely a top priority for your next visit to this iconic museum.

One-Way Colour Tunnel is a long arched walkway sculpture created by Icelandic-Danish artist Olafur Eliasson. It’s been installed on SFMOMA’s Oculus Bridge on the fifth floor, and the semi-transparent walkway reflects the crystalline patterns of the tunnel. According to Eliasson’s website, the tunnel is constructed from acrylic glass and mirrors. These materials are arranged in triangular panels throughout the archway, some jutting out from the ceiling and others stretching up from the sides.

As visitors walk through the tunnel one way, they see this triangular pattern in more of a dark gray color. When they turn around to walk the other way, a brilliant spectrum of colors appears, in a range of purples, blues, pinks and yellows. The carefully arranged colored glass pieces create different light patterns throughout the day, and as you walk through the tunnel you’ll be treated to a kaleidoscope of colors that shift as you change your perspective.


Eliasson designed this dazzling tunnel for his exhibition, Take Your Time, which was displayed at SFMOMA from 2007-2010. The exhibition was meant to spark “profound, visceral reactions designed to heighten one’s experience of the everyday.”A decade later, The tunnel has returned for a current exhibition called Contemporary Optics which also features works from artists Teresita Fernández and Anish Kapoor. Each of the works in this exhibition examines “natural and cosmological spectacles” such as a rainbow and a black hole. It’s scheduled to run from March 19, 2021 to March 27, 2022.

Olafur Eliasson’s exquisite work has appeared in the world’s top museums, including the Tate Modern in London, Red Brick Art Museum in Beijing, and Moderna Museet in Stockholm. He has also collaborated on a variety of projects in public spaces in New York City and London’s Kensington Gardens, to name a few. Studio Olafur Eliasson now consists of a team of craftsmen, architects, specialized technicians, and more to help realize his visions.


Featured image by Secret San Francisco

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