A veritable Who’s Who of the world’s artists have been working on bringing the stars from the sky, to give a face to this sparkling universe. And who would have thought: the starting point for the journey to this far flung galaxy is not in one of the world’s metropolises such as New York or Tokyo, but in a small town in the Austrian Alps.
Wattens does not give the impression of being a space station at first glance, but on seeing the grass-covered giant with seemingly watchful, glittering eyes and wide waterfall spewing from his mouth, you will realise that you have discovered an incredible World of Wonders.
Herman Hesse once said so beautifully: “A magic dwells in each beginning”. Multimedia artist, Andre Heller, who created a world of wonder to celebrate Swarovski’s hundredth anniversary in 1995, also shared this sentiment. The botanical head of the giant served him hereby as the perfect carapace for the “World of Wonders”. Chambers of Wonder, where internationally and nationally recognized artists, designers, and architects have interpreted crystal in their own unique way. No limits were set on their artistic freedom at Crystal Worlds. The Chambers of Wonder design is based on the multi-faceted and colour spectrum of a crystal – just as promising as the sparkle of the Milky Way on a starry night.
Swarovski would not be the globally operating company it is, without having the ability to reinvent itself constantly. According to the credo, “everything flows”, several million euros were poured into the renovation and redesign of the Crystal Worlds within the last year. Dutch designer, Tord Boontje, was brought on board for the new Chambers of Wonder inside the giant and designed several pieces for Swarovski, as did South Korean sculptor, Lee Bul. These include, amongst others, the “Silent Light” crystal tree, which Boontje designed together with the late Alexander McQueen, from the British design scene. This crystal tree is well on its way to toppling Innsbruck’s Golden Roof from the ranks as most photographed object in Tirol. The new chambers have an awful lot to offer: sparkling experiments of colour, abstract baubles, iridescent mirror landscapes, in which you venture through spatial illusions and where crystals seem like strange, exotic birds, reptiles or flowers in a forest.
Talking of forests: The “Eden” Chamber of Wonder is particularly well received. Why? British avant-garde duo Fredrikson Stallard have created a landscape that evokes one of the strongest primal responses in man: A fantastical, archaic primeval forest landscape, where an everlasting waterfall cascades down a screen and the abstract forms of crystalline figures invite the beholder to decide what or whom they may represent. This is all part of the special fascination: Eden’s visitors follow trails that take them through their own dreams and fantasies.
The crowning piece of the new garden, which has now grown to double its original size, is the Crystal Cloud, created by Andy Cao and Xavier Perrot. This monumental installation consists of 800,000 hand mounted Swarovski crystals and hovers above the black Mirror Pool. The fascination of this 1,400 square metre installation: the cloud symbolises day and night, perhaps a little of this world and thereafter, in counter-play to the black obsidian water. Again, the viewer is invited to see everything there is to see and everything he wants to see. The imagination knows no boundaries.
Back to Earth.
The exciting and truly unique aspect of Swarovski Crystal Worlds is the sheer immensity of abstraction found in a mere crystal. Together with its giant, the Crystal Worlds, Chambers of Wonder and artworks in the garden create a world that takes on a new form for each and every visitor. Less artificial: The artists, whose combined efforts have transformed the Crystal World anew, have exhibits at the MOMA in New York, the Victoria & Albert Museum in London and the Mori Art Museum in Tokio. The opportunity to see works by these first class, international creative artists in a small village in the middle of the Alps should be grasped with both hands.
Swarovski Kristallwelten (Swarovski Crystal Worlds)
Opening times: Daily 9:00 – 18:30 hrs | Last admission 17.30 hrs