Digital Crystal: Swarovski at the Design Museum
05.09.2012 - 13.01.2013
DESIGN MUSEUM, SHAD THAMES, LONDON SE1 2YD, United Kingdom
PARTICIPATING DESIGNERS ANNOUNCED
Over the past decade, Swarovski's
design and architecture commissions have served as an experimental
platform for leading figures in design to conceptualise, develop and
share their most radical ideas.
Building on this platform, the
Design Museum and Swarovski are now challenging some of the most
exciting talents in contemporary creativity to explore the future of
memory in the fast-developing digital age in an exciting new exhibition
that will run from 5 September until 13 January.
Explaining the central premise of
Digital Crystal: Swarovski at the Design Museum, Deyan Sudjic,
director of the Design Museum says: 'Digital Crystal: Swarovski at the
Design Museum explores the meaning of memory in the digital age, with
the demise of the analogue era our relationship and connection with
personal memory, photographs, diaries, letters, time and ephemera is
Deyan continues: 'Digital
Crystal: Swarovski at the Design Museum takes this as its starting
point, to question the future and our relationship with the changing
world, where it seems all too easy to lose connection with the tangible
and the real, as we move ever faster to a digital age where memory and
the personal possessions we once held so highly are now online or gone
in an instant.'
In addition to specially
commissioned pieces by a new generation of designers, Digital Crystal:
Swarovski at the Design Museum will also feature a select number of
works from the Swarovski archives and by juxtaposing old and new, the
exhibition offers up for debate the changing nature of our relationship
with objects, and even with time.
Nadja Swarovski comments: 'It is
an honour that the Design Museum has chosen to collaborate with
Swarovski on this forward-thinking exhibition. To work with such
creative minds and to see how they have responded to the brief is
fascinating and offers new insights into our changing relationship with
memory and technology. Swarovski?s passionate commitment to cutting-edge
contemporary design and innovation is driven by our work with these
visionaries who push the boundaries of how crystal can be used as a
The 14 designers and their commissions:
The exhibition begins with a
vertical installation by Random International leading you from the
ground floor up towards the exhibition space. Their piece, Sunlight
Video, shows a journey of light in a digital age. Light is directed
through a Swarovski lens to project ephemeral images of film which echo
an analogue projection.
Sound and motion create an
immersive entrance to the exhibition, placing the viewer at the heart of
natural crystal formation. Before you Surface, the site specific
installation by Semiconductor, is an animation showing a mineral crystal
growing and forming into another, changing colour and shape, at times
moving frantically, at others slowly, leaving behind traces of previous
At the central dais, the design
duo Fredrikson Stallard revisits their seminal 2007 Pandora chandelier.
This digitally programmed installation at first glance references
classical chandelier aesthetics but with an added twist: the
installation moves up and down, slowly exploding into chaos of light and
crystal before reforming into its original shape.
Radiating from the central dais,
design studio Troika's Hard Coded Memory takes the photograph, the film
and the note book as its starting point: a time when these were the only
records of memory. In the past, photographs were shot, then selected
with only the best printed and recorded as precious moments. The digital
age has changed this. Today, the internet is our memory bank and the
digital camera allows us to take endless images. Hard Coded Memory
projects a photograph through a Swarovski lens to reproduce a blurred
interpretation of an original photograph, a faded memory
An antechamber from the central
dais shows 2012 RCA graduate Alvarez presents his Wrapping Crystal, a
spinning machine that spins exquisite Swarovski yarn embedded with
crystals around objects, wrapping and binding them forever keeping them
safe and secure.
From this antechamber you reach
another containing Paul Cocksedge's Crystallize chandelier, originally
commissioned in 2005, which uses a single crystal mounted on a tubular
glass frame to channel a laser to create a unique ethereal effect. Rays
of light cascade from each crystal in a trajectory of beams.
The third antechamber shows a
redisplay of Arik Levy's immersive Osmosis Film, which presents a moment
of rapid prototyping. Capturing the transition of particles from one
place to another, the film engages with the physical real world which is
in constant transition.
The last room off the dais holds
Philippe Malouin's Blur which spins a Swarovski crystal at speed,
extracting a prism of light to create a painting in a colourful
spectrum. Influenced by the CERN Hadron Collider, the pictures are
temporary and dependent on the speed of which the crystals are spun.
Ron Arad's Lolita, designed for
Swarovski Crystal Palace in 2004, was an early experiment in digital
technology and has been completely redesigned for the exhibition so that
the traditional mobile phone, as well as smart phone, can interact with
the installation to allow it to receive Tweets and SMS text messages.
Former Designer in Residence at
the Design Museum, Hye-Yeon Park has produced a ring of crystal that
pushes the material to its limits in terms of size. Entitled Unfamiliar
Mass this 30cm ring of crystal when cut open reveals a secret Polar Bear
shaped crystal, an echo of a memory.
With The Monument, Swedish
designer Hellstrom explores the notion of myth and narrative. For the
exhibition, Hellstrom has created an object of crystal and Jesmonite
which references the character of religious and mythical symbols. This
object acts as the symbol of an ancient clan, a story that will be told
through a short minute-long film. The film and the object will together
tell the mythical tale of Wattens, Austria, the real home to Swarovski?s
Artist and lighting designer
Marcus Tremonto's 3D Lenticular installation is a 3D holographic print
which when viewed from different angles follows a sequence of events of a
moving object. The hologram is similar to a photograph only more
fragile and harder to maintain: non-tangible but real. Is this a
precious moment in time or a future occurrence? This cutting edge
technology allows memories to be captured as 3D memory as they would
exist in reality.
Yves B?har?s Amplify Chandelier,
commissioned in 2010, takes a single crystal amplified within a paper
lantern to create a digital pattern, a repeated form, each one different
from the next.
Maarten Baas' response to the
brief was to celebrate that one remaining response which cannot be
digitized: the human thought. His piece is a poetic interpretation of
memory and thought. Displayed in a house with a chimney from which a
thought cloud appears, the results are a digital imprint of the human
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