LONDON.- Swarovski Crystal Palace
is arguably the most important and inspired design project of our times. Devised and instigated by Nadja Swarovski, it provides a snapshot of the most exciting and creative minds of the first decade of the 21st century.
Since its inception in 2002 during the Milan Furniture Fair, Swarovski Crystal Palace has changed the course of design, by establishing a platform for leading players in international design to conceptualise, develop and share their most radical works. Swarovski Crystal Palace is a think tank for the convergence of art, design, science and technology. This ongoing forum has commissioned such noteworthy talents as Ron Arad, Zaha Hadid and Vincent van Duysen to develop original artworks implementing crystal as a creative ingredient.
The Art of Light and Crystal is a beautifully illustrated book, which tells the unique story of the Swarovski Crystal Palace project, marking their 10th anniversary and includes interviews with many of the creatives involved. It also traces the groundbreaking ethos that defines Swarovski, following the 115-year history of this remarkable family, and contextualizing its continuing legacy a must-read for all design enthusiasts, professionals and students.
The Swarovski Crystal Palace publication features such highlights as Tord Boontjes poetic Blossom chandelier (2002) which signalled a turning point for Swarovski and its commitment to progressive new thinking and practice. Ron Arad challenged convention with the spiral-shaped Lolita chandelier (2004) driven by computer-controlled LEDs to display text messages sent via SMS technology. Gaetano Pesces Mediterraneochandelier (2006) has the appearance of a deep-sea creature, which moves as if breathing, emitting a sweet scent. Diller Scofidio + Renfros Light Sock hanging mesh sacks are filled at the base with crystals in which a single halogen light bulb is buried (2007); while Paul Cocksedges Veil (2008) is a crystal screen containing an image of the Mona Lisa that is only visible when the piece is viewed in a mirror. Arik Levy paid homage to the chaton-cut crystal with Osmosis (2009) a series of abstract compositions that allude to crystals or rock formations but are in fact made from wood, resin, stainless steel, aluminium wire and LEDs. Amplify by Yves Béhar (2010) is arguably the most egalitarian design in terms of price point; the paper lanterns are shaped like crystals and illuminated by LEDs, with the light refracted from a crystal inside, casting patterns across the lanterns surface. We see the works on display in such venues as Salone del Mobile, Design Miami, MoMA and the Barbican.