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Winner chosen for landmark artwork

AN OPTICAL illusion in an incredible beachside location has been chosen as a landmark artwork for Copeland.

Provisionally titled Your Daylight Destination, Olafur Eliasson and Robert McFarlane’s piece is an elongated pool which, when viewed from a nearby platform, will form a perfect circle. The location will be at or near Silecroft, subject to planning permission.

It has been chosen as the flagship piece for the Deep Time art project – part of Copeland Council’s Connecting Cumbria’s Hidden Coast programme.

Elected Mayor of Copeland, Mike Starkie, said: “It’s fantastic to see this project move forward, and I’d like to congratulate Olafur and Robert on their bold design – it will bring visitors from far and wide to see a unique and large scale piece of art in a stunning location.

“We are lucky enough to have breath-taking countryside in Copeland, but public art is another key ingredient in creating attractive places to live.

“The piece will also be a driver for tourism – I am sure people will come here to experience our coast in this unique way, and also discover the delights of this ‘secret’ corner of the county. The hope is that local businesses will see a boost from this attraction, and all the other investment we’ve delivered as part of the Connecting Cumbria’s Hidden Coast project.”

Situated in the tidal flats, Your Daylight Destination combines earth, sky, and sea in an expansive outdoor art attraction.

It comprises a series of rings mounted on stands, a circular platform, and a large elliptical steel basin. Visitors will stand on the platform and view the artwork through the rings. The steel basin will stretch 30 metres into the beach, between the high and low tide lines. At high tide the basin will be submerged and the water collected will remain once the tide has gone out. The resulting pool will mirror the sky, a perfect circle when viewed from the particular angle of the platform.

Your Daylight Destination’s artist, Olafur Eliasson, said: I am delighted to have the opportunity to realise this contemplative artwork for Copeland. In a sense, it is a humble reflection of what is already there - the beach, the water, the sky, the plants and animals - reframed within a space that invites self-discovery in a deep-time perspective.”

Robert Macfarlane said:Collaborating with Olafur and his team on this project has been a mind-bending pleasure. Having spent eight years writing Underland - a book exploring human and geological 'deep time'- I've hugely enjoyed applying some of this thinking to the creation of our artwork, especially in the context of a landscape and region that I've known for four decades now."


The piece was chosen from submissions by four internationally acclaimed teams. The judging panel, which chose Olafur's design unanimously, included:

  • Irene Rogan - artist and local resident
  • Gary McKeating, Head of Development and Community Corporate Affairs, Sellafield Ltd
  • Nick Hayhurst - Head of Planning and Place, Copeland Borough Council
  • Aldo Rinaldi - Curator and producer, Deep Time
  • Claire Lilley - Director, Yorkshire Sculpture Park
  • Rhian Harris - Director, Lakeland Arts
  • Maria Percival, Relationship Manager Visual Arts North, Arts Council England

The piece, along with several other artworks, has been commissioned by Copeland Borough Council as part of Deep Time: Commissions for the Lake District Coast.

In addition to the landmark piece, there will be seven new permanent artworks in different locations, a series of new pieces of writing, and an artists' residency programme.

The artists

Born in 1967, Olafur Eliasson grew up in Iceland and Denmark, founding a studio in Berlin in 1995.

He has exhibited in major museums around the globe, and created many celebrated public art pieces and buildings.

Eliasson is also a professor at the Berlin University of the Arts, and led a five-year experimental programme in arts education.

Robert Macfarlane is the best-selling author of books including Mountains of the Mind, The Old Ways, Landmarks and Underland. Copies of The Lost Words have been donated to all primary schools in Cumbria. His work has been translated into 30 languages, and adapted for film, stage and television.

Macfarlane won the EM Forster Prize for Literature, and is a Fellow of Emmanuel College, Cambridge, where he teaches. He was drawn to collaborate on this project because of his interest in human mark-making in landscapes, and his family links to west Cumbria.


The Deep Time arts programme is part of the wider Connecting Cumbria's Hidden Coast (CCHC) scheme, and celebrates Copeland's ecology, history, industry and beauty.

CCHC is funded by Copeland Borough Council, the Coastal Communities Fund, Sellafield Ltd and Arts Council England.


Images of Your Daylight Destination: