Swarovski Crystal Palace // Milan 2010

published in: Design By Marcia Argyriades, 28 May 2010

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SPARKS by Gwenaël Nicolas // Image Courtesy of Swarovski
I remember myself when I was a young kid, I would stand before a Swarovski collection and gaze at it, as the spectrum colors and reflections travelled me to magical worlds where fairies and princesses existed!   For years I had lost that feeling, and suddenly during Milan Design Week 2010 when the Yatzer team visited Swarovski Crystal Palace at Zona Tortona the feeling came back!  The installations travelled me back to those years of when I was a kid, leaving me speechless for once more as the crystals demonstrated their creative potential right before our eyes.  Swarovski  presented yet another “exhilarating and inspiring series” of commissions, as the artists unveiled their creativity to present magnificent works.  This year Swarovski Crystal Palace commissioned five renowned designers to construe their own reality of the beauty of Swarovski crystals.  Tokujin Yoshioka, Gwenaël Nicolas, Vincent van Duysen, Rogier van der Heide and Yves Béhar integrated their own reality of how they envision their design to only create remarkable design pieces.  Not only were the pieces one of a kind, but the setting created just the right atmosphere for such works of art to be exhibited. 

The exhibition presented works which were inspired by the “idea of different types of palaces, from Versailles with its hall of mirrors, to Japan with its Zen aesthetic, to the Winter Palace in St Petersburg.”  Each design was exhibited in its own room thus allowing for the highest creative expression and setting the ideal atmosphere to clearly portray which palace it was inspired from.  The curating of the design pieces was such that it set up a theatrical atmosphere and engaged the visitors in travelling in a journey through time from palace to palace!   

STELLAR by Tokujin Yoshioka // Image Courtesy of Swarovski

We started our journey at Crystal Palace by entering a room filled with mist which was dedicated to Tokujin Yoshioka’s design, he created StellarStellar is a spherical installation which has a diameter of one meter and is covered with Swarovski crystals and lit from within by LEDs, while an accompanying piece in the same room featured another globe in a glass tank where crystals grew naturally. 
The continuation of the exhibition featured the works of Gwenaël Nicolas who presented Sparks, a free floating transparent balloon which floated as it enclosed small crystal sculptures lit from within by battery powered LED.  The LED light originated through the crystal to flicker a series sparks which floated in the air along with the balloon’s movement.  As a separate design, Gwenaël Nicolas also constructed a ten meter long crystal rope which integrated LED lighting which was programmed to set off sparks from one end of the rope to the other, as the room glimmered with the iridescent spectrum lighting.  

SPARKS by Gwenaël Nicolas // Image Courtesy of Swarovski

SPARKS by Gwenaël Nicolas // Image Courtesy of Swarovski

As we wandered in the Crystal Palace through the mist, and the mellow lighting we walked into a room where Rogier van der Heide presented Dream Cloud.  His installation presented the fundamental features of the crystals and how they manage to spark our imagination into dreams which do become reality.  The installation presented the natural beauty of colored Swarovski Crystals which formed a suspending cloud above a tulip garden.  We wandered through the magical landscapes in the palace of fairies and princesses as the clouds, the mist and the moonlight glistened before our eyes. 

DREAM CLOUD by Rogier van der Heide // Image Courtesy of Swarovski

As we strolled along the mellow lit rooms, we suddenly entered a room which glowed with reflection as it was full of mirrors, immediately the Hall of Mirrors at the Versailles Palace came to mind as we enjoyed the work of Vincent Van Duysen who presented Frost.   Van Duysen created “a highly versatile glowing ‘beam’ encrusted with Swarovski crystals.”  The surface of each beam was covered in gleaming crystals of various shapes and sizes which were set into a special resin to keep them in place; again, the crystals were lit from within allowing for the Swarovski crystals to portray their status and their elegance. 

FROST by Vincent Van Duysen // Image Courtesy of Swarovski

Our journey through the palace was not over yet, Yves Béhar designed Amplify as he “managed to combine the possibilities of technology with the inherent qualities of Swarovski crystal to create a beautiful yet surprisingly affordable lighting arrangement, which consisted of a series of deceptively simple ‘paper lanterns’ shaped like crystals, within which light was refracted from a real crystal, casting its patterns on the surface of the paper.”  Béhar’s design was created from recycled materials with an eye for sustainable and affordable design.  He created six different crystal-like shapes of various sizes which could be used as individual pieces or as a whole to create a remarkable lighting effect. 

AMPLIFY by Yves Béhar // image Courtesy of Swarovski

Last but not least, our journey through the palace was almost over as we ended up in a final room on our way out which exhibited some of the “staggeringly inventive” designs which were created by famous designers for the Swarovski Crystal Palace over the past eight years.  Ball* by Tom Dixon, Blossom* and Ice Branches* by Tord Boontje, Tulsa* by Michael Anastassiades, Mini Voyage* by Yves Béhar, Glitterbox* Floor lamps by Georg Baldele, Light Sock* by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Caillou by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, Cupola by Piero Lissoni, Lolita by Ron Arad, Black + Lite by Amanda Levete / Future Systems, Ice furniture by Tord Boontje, Dazzling Dahlia by Ineke Hans, Rock Crystal by Hariri and Hariri.

Hopefully, throughout our fairy tale journey in Swarovski Crystal Palace we met no dragons! 

Archive room // image Courtesy of Swarovski


Swarovski Crystal Palace

  • friend
    Rogier van der Heide | 2010-05-29 05:12:45

    Great and funny review of the Crystal Palace... Thanks a lot! Rogier

  • friend
    Rocco | 2010-05-31 11:10:57

    Really Great!

  • friend
    setareh | 2010-06-01 11:04:36

    really amazing .feeling like heaven

  • friend
    Emma Elizabeth Designs | 2010-06-02 04:09:40

    check out the video of the Crystal Palace on www.thedesignvlog.com & interview with Tokujin, Nicholas and the Fabulous Nadia.

  • friend
    Baback | 2014-02-01 20:59:19

    It's like heaven,like a dream. I am easily influenced by these amazing pics. Jeté surprise. Je reve de voyage là-bas.

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