Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Swarovski Kristallwelton: Swarovski Crystal Worlds, Innsbruck, Austria

Swarovski Crystal Worlds was opened in 1995 to mark the centennial anniversary of the company’s founding. Multimedia artist André Heller designed a unique and magical place. This beloved attraction has brought moments of wonder to over fifteen million visitors from all around the world. Visitors are surprised, touched, and perhaps even transformed by crystal in all its facets.

The main attractions of Swarovski Kristallwelten are the Giant and its Chambers of Wonder, the Crystal Cloud, the play tower, and playground. The mix of art and culture, entertainment and shopping, family experience, and culinary delights makes Swarovski Crystal Worlds unique.
There are no limits to the imagination in Swarovski Crystal Worlds – today’s children are tomorrow’s artists and visionaries, dreamers, and researchers.

The realm of the Giant hosts a rich collection of precious items housed in 17 Chambers of Wonder. Here, in a world of fantasy inspired and designed by some of the world’s greatest artists, visitors can believe in miracles for just a moment.


The subterranean world of the Giant begins in the Blue Hall, the first Chamber of Wonder in Swarovski Kristallwelten (Swarovski Crystal Worlds). Its slanted walls, painted in the color “International Klein Blue,” a shade developed by the artist Yves Klein, suggest the inside of a cave.
The Blue Hall gives the visitor an initial insight into the fascination of crystal and displays masterpieces such as Salvador Dalí’s “The Persistence of Time”, Niki de Saint Phalle’s “Crystal-bearing Nana”, and Andy Warhol’s “Gems”. Furthermore, the Blue Hall incorporates the Centenar, the black stallion “Chetak”, and the Crystal Wall.


The desire for transformation and fantasies is a force that affects human beings – and the machine-driven world of Jim Whiting. His “Mechanical Theater” combines humans and technology, the bizarre and the aesthetic in a fashion show out of the ordinary. Protagonists are an Adonis and a “Walking Woman”, who represent the relationship between man and woman. Rigid objects suddenly spring to life, as clothes fly and dance through the air as if by magic. The laws of gravity seem to be suspended and objects make movements that they should not be able to make. This creates an eerily beautiful scenario that provides plenty of scope for your own fantasies. The music in “Mechanical Theater” is by Silvio Borchardt and Swarovski workshops provide the technology, demonstrating their high degree of expertise as far as precision engineering is concerned.


The dome of the Crystal Dome was modeled after Sir Richard Buckminster Fuller's (1895–1983) geodesic dome, whose architectural design perfectly reflects the principle of geodesy. Geodesy is the scientific discipline devoted to geographical measurement and representation of the Earth; in mathematics, it designates the shortest path between two points on a curved surface.
Geodesic domes are particularly stable, especially considering the relatively small amount of material used to build them. The dome of the Crystal Dome consists of 595 mirrors that create a special depth effect and give the viewer the feeling of being inside a crystal. Eight of the mirrors are so-called “spy mirrors” that conceal fascinating art objects by various artists. The music in the Crystal Dome was created by Brian Eno. Because it is such a spectacular backdrop, the Crystal Dome is a popular venue for weddings.


At the center of “Silent Light” is the eponymous, spectacularly sparkling crystal tree by designers Tord Boontje and Alexander McQueen, who created it in 2003 for the foyer of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London; it was later moved to Swarovski Kristallwelten (Swarovski Crystal Worlds). Its 150, 000 sparkling Swarovski crystals, which Tord Boontje uses to create a complete Chamber of Wonder, evoke images of a bone-chilling cold and yet heartwarmingly romantic winter wonderland.
Especially in the spring and summer, this miracle world creates a magical contrast to the reality outside the door. The design bears the typical imprimatur of Tord Boontje, in whose work nature plays a starring role.


For “Into Lattice Sun”, South Korean artist Lee Bul looked to modern architecture as her muse, translating it into a metropolitan, dramatic, and utopian landscape for the Chamber of Wonder. Lee Bul’s encompassing installation explores the interactions between visitor and space. Myriad crystals and mirrors give the Chamber of Wonder the spatial illusion of ever new vastness and depths, inviting visitors to think about themselves and their position within the space. This deliberately staged interplay of the continually changeable, iridescent mirror landscape enables the visitor to discover all of its facets from the most diverse perspectives. The deeply symbolic bridge that leads us through this fascinating landscape of crystal and mirrors intensifies the visitor’s spatial experience.

I invite you into this amorous paradise wherein the heart rules and conquers all. The hearts in this room are a labor of love, each one handcrafted with various traditional Indian techniques. They express an emotion that we all can relate to and a vision that will make us smile.
You will be sworn into the magical realm as you are ushered along a scintillating stairway beaming messages d’amour. Lovestruck, you are now attuned to the bewitching sight: a technicolor utopia with an array of elaborately crafted, jewel-adorned heart-fairies, blissfully soaring, tumbling, and freewheeling in the sumptuous fluorescence of an exalted Indian mansion, glistening under dazzling neon lights. “Welcome to the Palace of Love. You are invited to partake in the enchanting ritual and leave a declaration of love on the graffiti wall! Express your love. I have so much love to give that one is not enough! And you? Ready to love.” -MANISH ARORA

At first glance, Tyrolean artist Oliver Irschitz's “Ice Passage” is an empty corridor; it does not come alive until you step inside. As you place your foot on the floor, a series of crystalline tracks start to appear, precisely revealing the path you have taken. The lights also trace these tracks, allowing the viewer to get sporadic glances into the surrounding world of glistening ice. The more visitors dare to venture in, the brighter and more luminescent the surroundings become, and the denser the tracks on the floor appear. Each step that the visitor takes is accompanied by mysterious and sometimes alarming creaking and crackling – just as if you were actually on a frozen surface, with each step causing small fissures in the ice.


“Transparent Opacity” by Arik Levy is an homage to the diversity of crystal. The title of this work already embraces both of its apparently contradictory aspects: its transparency and its impenetrability. The room installation is both a game with the most diverse array of materials – from glass, marble, and steel to synthetic 3-D prints – as well as a play on shapes and sizes.
Some of the exhibition pieces invoke the familiar silhouette of the cut chaton, while other works reach deep into the abstract realm of natural, archaic crystalline shapes. Additionally, visitors can interact with the space and become involuntary co-creators of the piece by virtue of their diversity. This interrelationship becomes utterly dynamic in the “Interactive Arena”, which captures and reflects each and every movement.

Arik Levy’s EmotionalFormation represents a spatial expansion on the concept of his earlier “Transparent Opacity.” Stepping into this space is like a journey into yourself as if you were exploring previously undiscovered treasures of your future self. In EmotionalFormation, special floor installations create a labyrinth-like effect, where your eyes and body wander from one section to the next, from one sculpture to the next, discovering something new at every turn.
In this Chamber of Wonder, every perspective seems different, and each one of the six crystal structures is unique. His aim is to awaken the spirit of exploration in each of us. The highly-faceted crystal looks as if it has formed in the wild, mirroring natural growth. The overall effect is spectacular, but the details are impressive too. Atmospheric lighting completes the installation, creating a striking interplay of light and shadows.


With Yayoi Kusama's only permanent “Infinity Mirror Room” in the world - in addition to her gallery in Tokyo - Swarovski Kristallwelten has opened its now 17th Chamber of Wonder within the realm of the iconic Giant. Kusama, one of the most popular contemporary artists in the world, is exhibiting one of her most spectacular mirror installations to date in Wattens, entitled “Chandelier of Grief.” The central element is a rotating chandelier of Swarovski crystal, whose luster comes to life in a room that is completely lined with mirrors. The room creates the illusion of being in an endless space.

For the Studio Job Wunderkammer, the eponymous designers used none other than the term “Chamber of Wonder” itself to draw inspiration. Long ago, chambers of wonder were small curiosity cabinets that held a collection of scientific exhibits; today, the term signifies a wondrous, strange, all-encompassing spatial experience. Indeed, in the Studio Job Wunderkammer – the only Chamber of Wonder in Swarovski Kristallwelten (Swarovski Crystal Worlds), by the way, with no corners – everything revolves around the holistic experience of the space. Colors, shapes, compositions, and concepts invite the visitors to make their own discoveries. What at first looks like a fairground brimming with exuberant color is in reality thousands upon thousands of short stories in the shape of movement, music, reflections, and slight allusions to modern society.


The renowned soprano Jessye Norman, who over the course of her career has worked with classical music’s biggest names, such as Herbert von Karajan and Sir Georg Solti, and has been awarded no less than five Grammys, celebrated a spectacular performance at the Crystal Dome. She sang the final aria, “Thy hand, Belinda”, from Henry Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas. A separate Chamber of Wonder was dedicated to this moving performance.
A giant natural mountain crystal from Madagascar, impressive in its archaic grandeur, provided the counterpoint to the man-made art form of music and voice.

The idea behind the Eden Chamber of Wonder is to create a landscape that evokes one of the strongest primal responses in man: the forest. But Eden is no ordinary forest – it is a fantastical, archaic primeval world. At its entrance, a waterfall, filmed in the surrounding Alps, cascades down a screen and is reflected by the walls, while the roar of the water permeates the entire Chamber of Wonder, creating a wall of background sound. Inside, the visitor follows a path that meanders through a dense wilderness of simple polished brass structures, which through mirrored walls appear to go on to infinity. Within the depths of this dark forest, the wanderer encounters strange, hidden gems in the form of the biggest crystals Swarovski has ever produced. They emerge as beacons of light from the dark, like strange, exotic birds, reptiles, flowers, or fruit, symbolizing the magnificence of nature and the origins of life.


In FAMOS, the Russian artist duo, Blue Noses, with their notorious, madcap performances, meets Swarovski’s legendary art of cutting crystal. Four architectural landmarks are on display in a crystalline dimension that has yet to be surpassed: the Taj Mahal in Agra, the Pyramid of Cheops in Giza, the New York Empire State Building, and the Lenin Mausoleum in Moscow. The Cheops Pyramid alone weighs 105 kilograms, and the Empire State Building consists of 386 individual parts. Subtle, humorous home videos are revealed inside the exhibition pieces only by viewing them from above. The crystalline splendor is placed in contrast to the tongue-in-cheek videos by the Blue Noses. Grandeur is put into perspective through clever humor.

“55 Million Crystals” is a synthesis of ambient music, light, hand-painted picture components, and state-of-the-art computer technology that merge into a grandiose object that changes with barely perceptible transitions and produces a meditative effect. At any moment, “55 Million Crystals” is an absolutely unique original. No one else has ever seen what you see in this particular moment, and no one else will ever see it quite this way again.
In an age of high-definition monitors and powerful computers, Brian Eno does not consider an original work of art something bound to an immovable, physical object. In his holistic hypnotic experience comprised of music and colors, Eno shows that there is an infinity of individual moments and that each is unique.

With the “Heroes of Peace” installation, Swarovski Kristallwelten (Swarovski Crystal Worlds) is dedicating one of its Chambers of Wonder to the theme of peace, honoring the vision of the artist and curator André Heller. The installation invites visitors to pause for a moment, to think about life, and how each of us can make our own contribution to peace. Innovative projection technology makes it possible for visitors to see and encounter life-sized holograms of individuals who have won the Nobel Peace Prize, or who have dedicated their lives to the vital theme of peace. The “Heroes of Peace” speak to visitors, offer inspiration, and share the wisdom they have learned from their lives. “Heroes of Peace” presents Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Albert Einstein, Rigoberta Menchú, Bertha von Suttner, Pablo Picasso, Nelson Mandela, John Lennon, Yoko Ono, and many others.



The name “El Sol” is Spanish for “The sun.” Fernando Romero’s installation, formed from 2,880 custom-made Swarovski crystals, is an exploration of humankind’s relationship with the sun. This large structure is exactly one billion times smaller than the sun itself. At the heart of the artwork is a sphere of LEDs, whose light is split by the inner facets of the precisely cut crystals in such a way that it creates a dynamic surface reminiscent of the sun.
The inspiration for El Sol was the remarkable geometry of the pyramids built by the Aztec and Mayan people. Romero’s creation is thus an homage to his Mexican cultural heritage. At the same time, his structure is also based on modern technologies. Three months of design and development were needed before the drawings were ready, and it took the technicians more than 350 hours to construct the artwork.

The Timeless area tells the history of Swarovski and crystal in all of its historical facets. An exciting exhibition that ranges from the company’s founding to magical moments on the stage, screen, and runway juxtaposes curiosities and glamour with nostalgia, history, and technology.
“Timeless” here means that we should forget our own time as we experience the changing spirit of the times from 1895 to the present day and observe epoch-making exhibits. The architects and museum designers at HG Merz were responsible for creating this narrative flow in cooperation with the Swarovski Corporate Archive.


The garden of the Giant contains contemporary art as well as ancient history and unique pleasures: a place where crystal becomes a holistic experience. You will discover a venue where you can experience beauty, inspiration and energy, care, and aesthetics – and legends.

Working in collaboration with artists from throughout the globe and internationally renowned architects, a park landscape emerged on 7.5 hectares of land surrounding the iconic Giant, with unparalleled art installations and new structures.

Allow yourself to be mesmerized by the sparkling Crystal Cloud, stroll along the Mirror Pool, and experience playing and climbing with all of the senses in the multiple levels of the play tower.

Play tower, playground and labyrinth
Art in the Garden
Crystal Cloud & Mirror Pool
Roman Excavations


Crystal Cloud: a natural phenomenon made of crystals
The crowning piece of the new garden is the Crystal Cloud, created by Andy Cao and Xavier Perrot.
This monumental installation, consisting of some 800,000 hand-mounted Swarovski crystals, drifts
above the black Mirror Pool, inviting visitors to pause for a moment and be inspired. With a surface of around 1,400 square meters, this mystical masterpiece is the largest work of its kind in the world. A descending path draws visitors to the Mirror Pool where the crystals’ light is captured like stars
shimmering in the nocturnal sky – even in broad daylight. They are accompanied by 2,000 sparkling
crystal fireflies dancing through the air. Towering over the center of the Mirror Pool is Tyrolean artist
Thomas Feuerstein’s sculpture “Leviathan,” made up of over 10,000 crystals. “Leviathan” refers to the Biblical sea monster on the one hand and, on the other, to the eponymous publication by Thomas
Hobbes from 1651 about government and the state. Its meaning refers to the oldest description of
society as a network: The whole is created only in a reciprocal network of relationships, symbolized here by the interplay of the crystals.


Roman Excavations: a window on the past Swarovski Crystal Worlds is a place where the past and present are intertwined. The Roman Excavations, which give a glimpse into Tyrolean life in Roman times, provide vivid testimony to this. During extensive reconstruction work in September 2014, walls and collapsed sections of Roman buildings, and other archaeological material from the Roman period came to light. According to archaeologists, these are fragments from a Roman country estate dating back to the third century A.D. The Roman Excavations are displayed as a “natural Chamber of Wonder”, and an especially exciting part of the find was a treasure of extraordinary value: 702 silver coins known as Antoninians, minted for the Roman emperors between 238 and 251 A.D, and unearthed after nearly two thousand years.

PLAYTOWER AND PLAYGROUND: The garden of the Giant enhances the existing selection of educational tools specially geared to children all around the Crystal Studio. This context inspired the creation of an entirely new building “typology” by the renowned architectural offices of Snøhetta: a playtower and an innovative open-air playground. Besides an extraordinary spatial experience, the playtower gives children all kinds of playing experiences from climbing, rocking, and swinging to sliding and even to what looks like floating. The form of playing this offers is completely new but perfectly natural. A vertical climbing net is spread over several levels arranged on top of each other; it can be climbed up to a height of just under 14 meters. Wall-mounted game boxes, designed specifically for Swarovski Crystal Worlds, engage visitors’ fine motor skills and cognitive abilities: There is a slider puzzle featuring the iconic Giant, an animal memory® game, the “Fast little animals” game box, and a labyrinth. The façade of the playtower consists of 160 crystalline facets, though no two are exactly alike. The panes are imprinted with an innovative pattern made from millions of tiny motifs which refer to the history of Swarovski. The view from inside to outside is visible at all times, just like the activities on the inside can always be seen from the outside. At night, the structure looks just like a spectacular body of light that magically enhances the reflections of the Crystal Cloud and the Mirror Pool. The play area – for children of any age – continues into an innovative open-air playground. A free-form topography of steel and wood offers children an infinite number of ways to play. A spectacular 25-meter-long climbing route was added to the playground in the garden of the Giant in 2017. Additionally, the existing water play areas were enlarged, and a ball game was installed on the wooden deck. Children can run around to their heart’s content while simultaneously improving important motor skills. The outdoor area’s design is as unique as that of the playtower, giving children, in particular, an opportunity to discover new games and ways of moving their bodies.



CULINARY DELIGHTS: Besides nourishment for the mind, Swarovski Crystal Worlds also offers culinary delights at Daniels Kristallwelten. Here too, the overall architectural concept follows the crystalline parameters embedded in the garden of the Giant. The whole world is welcome at Daniels Kristallwelten, which serves international, regional, and, most particularly, seasonal cuisine. Desserts are made in-house as well. The atmosphere is truly exceptional: In this airy pavilion suffused with light, designed by the Norwegian architectural firm Snøhetta, visitors feel as if they were sitting right in the middle of the garden of the Giant. Gently curved pillars and ceilings accentuate the impression of flowing forms and light. The design company MARCTHOMAS produced a new design for the restaurant’s public area in 2017, giving the space a unique feel, flooded with light during the day and suffused with a subtle glimmer in the evening. Guests can enjoy regional and seasonal fresh delicacies, diverse menus, and an uninterrupted view of nature. In the entrance area of Daniels Kristallwelten, a specially designed scent of fresh aromas and essences such as tangerine, jasmine, and patchouli also contributes to the multisensory experience of the visitors. The “Fat Bus” directly behind the entrance building is the work of Austrian artist Erwin Wurm. It is not only a one-of-a-kind, eye-catching sculpture but also a fully functional hot dog stand that offers guests fortifying refreshments before or after their visit. Erwin Wurm’s trademark is his reworking of everyday objects in his art. Pickles, hot dogs, and houses, for instance, are some of the objects he has used so far. For Swarovski Crystal Worlds, the artist chose the VW bus, once the symbol of 1960s hippie culture, and now a truly timeless icon. You can still recognize the VW classic in “Fat Bus.” In keeping with the sculptor’s artistic style, however, he has uncoupled the object from its primary function, creating something that seems, to the viewer, both familiar and, at the same time, a little bit off. The sausage-shaped tables created by Erwin Wurm specifically for this installation, perfectly round out the humorous effect of this work of art. The Crystal Bar in the Swarovski Kristallwelten Store, with its sparkling ambiance, serves refreshing drinks. The restaurant and Bar are freely accessible to all – without the need to first visit the Chambers of Wonder – thus making them an ideal meeting place for the whole family or business partners.



Winter in the Giant: Not such a dark time of year after all: At Swarovski Crystal Worlds the winter program is packed with lively and richly varied family events and cultural experiences. The garden will be transformed into an illuminated fairy-tale landscape with glittering sculptures by the Dutch designer Tord Boontje, rich with mystical sounds and lighting

SHOPPING IN THE GIANT: After an excursion through the Chambers of Wonder and the Timeless area – or passing directly through the Store entrance, which was designed by Snøhetta and features a captivating light and sound installation – visitors reach the Swarovski Kristallwelten Store. This spacious shopping landscape showcases the diverse nature of crystal as a material, as well as Swarovski’s remarkable power of innovation, and strong links with the world of fashion and design. The experience is heightened by an elegant scent created specifically for the shopping landscape. With a touch of glamour and sensuality, it conveys the essence of Swarovski Crystal Worlds on a completely unexpected level. The Swarovski Kristallwelten Store is literally a landscape that meanders like a river. In some parts, the spectacular “Starry Mosaic Sky dome” provides a canopy overhead, set with black mosaic tiles handcrafted by Bisazza in innovative conjunction with Swarovski crystals. Beneath the dome lies the “City of Glass”, the creation of Melli Ink. Inspired by Hieronymus Bosch and Buckminster Fuller, this artwork presents a utopian view of the future in glass, crystal, and mountain crystal. The combination of the dome and its artwork creates a unique setting for an extensive brand portfolio of the latest extraordinary fashion and couture jewelry from Swarovski. The collection includes creations by world-famous designers – each one distinctive, glamorous, and on trend. Yet, all the product brands in the Swarovski Kristallwelten Stores share one distinctive characteristic: the unmistakable Swarovski style. Since 1895, the Swarovski name has signaled sophisticated design expertise and a love of detail. Countless products crafted from or with Swarovski crystal quicken the hearts of collectors, crystal lovers, technical experts, and anyone who loves to give or receive gifts that sparkle. They all find a huge array of gift ideas and mementos at the Swarovski Kristallwelten Stores. Since the first crystal mouse was created in 1976, Swarovski has been famous worldwide for its collections of both crystal and functional items that add a special sparkle and refinement to interior spaces. Precision optical equipment from Swarovski Optik makes long-distance observation an entirely new experience. Swarovski Kristallwelten souvenir jewelry is available exclusively in the Swarovski Kristallwelten Stores and features items specifically themed to their local area. The love of detail is evident in motifs like the iconic Giant in Wattens, St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna, or the Golden Roof (Goldenes Dachl) in Innsbruck.


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