Digital Crystal: Swarovski at the Design Museum

For 10 years, Swarovski has developed collaborations with designers and architects to experiment, develop, and share creative radical ideas. To mark this decade, a new exhibition at the Design Museum in London challenges contemporary designers to explore, through the medium of crystal, the roles of interactivity and memory between individuals and objects in the digital age.

Among the 15 designers who have produced new or especially updated installations for the exhibition are Ron Arad, Maarten Baas, rAndom International, Yves Béhar, Troika and Fredrikson Stallard. Of particular relevance to The Style Examiner were art works that, instead of showing immediate interpretations of interactivity and memory, opted for working manifold possibilities of engaging with the shapes, functions and meanings of crystal.

Philippe Malouin’s ‘Blur’, inspired by the giant particle accelerators of the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN), revealed crystal beads moving in circles at high speed in tangible light patterns that generated hypnotic beautiful shapes. Upon entering Arik Levy’s ‘Osmosis Interactive Arena’ installation, human movements altered the geometry, colour, texture and density of a digitally-generated representation of a crystal, blurring the lines between conscious intention and the permanence of solid physicality. Troika’s ‘Hardcoded Memory’ projects four portrait photographs through 850 custom-cut Swarovski optical lenses illuminated by white LEDs, while Yves Béhar’s ‘Amplify’ uses one single projection of crystal light refraction in 30 paper lanterns to question the luxury status of crystal as a material.

Until 13 January 2013, visitors can examine the especially commissioned pieces by this new generation of designers, as well as a select number of updated works from the Swarovski archives, and ponder on the changing nature of our relationship with objects over time.