Artist Carsten Höller has erected a cross between a viewing tower and a helter skelter at the Vitra Campus at Weil am Rhein in Germany (+ slideshow).
Part artwork and part architecture, the 30 metre-high Vitra Slide Tower features an open staircase for ascending and a twisting, 38 metre-long covered slide for descending. A steel tripod supports a circular viewing platform that is 17 metres about the ground and is surmounted by a numberless, illuminated clock with a face that measures six metres in diameter.
"With its prominent clock at the top, it is not a building in the classical sense but a viewing tower with a slide," said Vitra, "and a work of art that enables a new and unique experience of self and art."
German artist Höller has created slide artworks before, notably his 2006 Test Site installation at Tate Modern in London, which featured five temporary slides that linked the museum's fifth level to the floor of the Turbine Hall.
Höller also built a slide for fashion mogul Miucccia Prada, connecting her Milan office directly to the car park outside.
The Vitra Slide Tower is the latest landmark structure at the Vitra Campus, which is the production base of furniture brand Vitra and which features buildings by architects including Zaha Hadid, Herzog & de Meuron and Frank Gehry.
The campus is undergoing major development and reorganisation, with the seminal Fire Station designed by Zaha Hadid now more accessible to the public thanks to a new landscaped path by Álvaro Siza linking it to the Herzog & de Meuron-designed VitraHaus showroom.
"Höller’s Vitra Slide Tower underscores the routing of the new pathway while simultaneously operating as a fully independent element," said Vitra.
"Vitra’s goal was to develop a work with an artist that would fit into the overall plan for the campus and be able to hold its own in face of the powerful architecture on the campus without being closed off and self-contained, offering visitors an enriching and inspiring experience whether or not they have a special affinity for art."
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Other recent additions to the campus include a circular production hall by Japanese architects SANAA, and a tiny guest cabin for a single person designed by Renzo Piano.
Höller was invited to propose a structure for the campus by Vitra's chairman emeritus Rolf Fehlbaum, who spoke to Dezeen last month about his singular vision for the brand.
"As a design company leader you are a romantic person because you believe you can do things for the world through design, which to an outsider sounds completely ridiculous," he said. "But we believe it."
Slides are becoming increasingly popular features in everything from houses to offices. See more stories about architecture with slides.
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