london design festival: during the 2016 london design festival, fredrikson stallard present their ‘glaciarium’ collection for swarovski. comprising of chandeliers, new crystal components and also centerpieces, vases and candle-holders for atelier swarovski home, the line reflects the complex production techniques of crystals by making the material the heart and soul of the designs. by doing so, the collection draws attention to the mysterious character and behavior of the quartz, and positions them in great contrast with surrounding textures.
patrik fredrikson (left) and ian stallard (right) below the ‘avalon’ chandelier
all images by mark cocksedge
made up of four crystal chandeliers; ‘avalon’, ‘helios’, ‘superline’ and ‘voltaire’, the collection showcases both the heritage and technical innovation characteristics that define swarovski. this latest collaboration between the austrian brand and fredrikson stallard, marks the 10th year of their partnership and the first time that an out-sourced designer has created a swarovski crystal component.
the ‘glaciarium’ collection was presented during the london design festival
during the 2016 london design festival, designboom caught up with the design duo, patrik fredrikson and ian stallard, and discussed the significance of designing new crystal components for swarovski, the challenges involved and the next chapter of their partnership with the jewellery brand.
designboom (DB): as the first out-sourced designers to create crystal components for swarovski, what prompted this task and what were the challenges that you faced with it?
patrik fredrikson (PF): well the relationship that we have had with swarovski spans 10 years now, and we have done so many various projects with them, from jewellery to huge sculptural installations. it was time for them to invite us behind the scenes so to say.
ian stallard (IS): it is a family business and they very much welcomed us into the heart of it. this is because no one else had been asked to do this before. I think that because we have developed an understanding for swarovski, they know we understand what they do and what we love about their products. we can see new ways, a vision of moving it forwards to what can become of swarovski, and that everything we do, swarovski crystals are at the heart of our creations.
for us, it is interesting that we are creating components that other designers and creators can use. we are creating words for other people to make stories with; new stories, new chapters, and this really is a new chapter for swarovski. this is because the crystal surfaces have always been about faceting and precise cutting of crystal. we are creating a whole new language of surfaces that still work with facet cutting and traditional shapes and forms that chandeliers can be created from. as well, the material’s heart has been moved because its reflection and refraction is in a whole new different direction. this will evolve more as other designers challenge what they can do with the new components. it is very exciting because it is not just a one-hit-wonder project but is the beginning of something special.
underneath the ‘avalon’ chandelier
DB: talking about creating this new chapter for swarovski and also your 10 year partnership with them, do you think that this marks the beginning of a new set of collaborations with the brand, or do you believe that other designers will help make this new chapter as they use the crystal components that you created?
PF: probably both to be honest. the components have clearly been created not just for us. it is for other architects, interior designers and designers to be used for their creations. it is a new chapter for sure. there is new work, based on this, in the pipeline but we can’t reveal too much about it. what we are seeing here, with the ‘glaciarium’ collection, has ascended into bigger projects with swarovski.
each crystal hangs from a metal structure of the ‘avalon’
IS: to start of with, this is a completely new technique and process. it took daniel swarovski decades to invent the machines that cut the flat faceted crystals perfectly. here, it didn’t take decades but it has taken them a long time to achieve this surface. we are always very uncompromising in the way we work. we know what our designs have to be like and the wonderful, amazing technician guys need to figure out how to do it and they did so.
PF: the thing that is so incredible with working with them, the technicians that we worked pretty intensely with for this project, is that they really love their job. they really want to push themselves, not just to satisfy us and get what we want, but to actually achieve something themselves. with our process, when we saw the first sample, we thought that we were kind of there but not quite. at first, it was like little baby steps until we cracked the first initial component. then after we cracked the first one, it really opened up what we were doing.
the new crystal components changes the expected refraction and reflections of swarovski gems
DB: would you say that the initial difficulties of this project was the biggest challenge you have had with swarovski so far?
IS: everything we do is a challenge because we are uncompromising and we always push the limit. this is especially the case when it is a very simple concept, one with natural, effortless surfaces. these are always the projects that we push boundaries for in manufacturing terms. manufacturing normally doesn’t lend itself to the way that materials form themselves under the impact of a hammer or when crushed. this is not what manufacturing processes are geared up to do so it is always a challenge but is always worth it.
DB: looking back at your last collaboration with swarovski, can you tell us more about the ‘prologue’ installation in hong kong?
IS: well the ‘prologue’ was essentially a public sculpture. these are very difficult because it is something that people love to hate. overall, it is fine art but it has a very strong function of interacting with people from all different backgrounds. in this case, in hong kong, which has a very different culture, we created something that was very simple in its form and that could be read in a very simple way as the sun. as well, there was several layers to read beyond the use of industrial steel. one, we allowed the steel to corrode in the hong kong humidity and actually the city became part of it. two, the fact that we knew that people in hong kong and mainland china, love to touch things and created hand-prints all over it. lastly, we knew that the chinese don’t steal things, meaning we could hang the crystal there and know that they wouldn’t be taken. the ‘prologue’ was interacting with the people and the city.
we actually had museum curators and collectors talking about what it represented, symbolized to them, and how they felt about it in deep and interesting ways. we also had the builders over the road shouting to us about how much they loved it, our taxi driver called it magnificent, and it appealed to so many people. it is very different to the ‘glaciarium’ collection but it is part of our uncompromising vision.
close-up of the ‘voltaire’ chandelier
PF: in many ways, the components that we are presenting here can be used to create future installations like the ‘prologue’. these crystals are a tool for other people to create their own versions. we are super excited to see what more we can do with it.
with the components, and the different sizes and shapes available, it looks at the classic shapes that swarovski have used for decades, and doesn’t just try to re-invent the wheel because that can back-fire. when I first walk in, what I like about the big chandelier, ‘avalon’, is its structure. it is like a classic swarovski chandelier but its shape is not. there is a metal structure, with each crystal hanging by its pendant, which we are used to seeing in contemporary chandeliers. with those you have a static creature but the ‘avalon’ is very much moving. it would be nice to have wind blowing through the space to highlight this.
the line of vases, centerpieces and candle-holders
DB: finally, even though we have talked about how this project has created a new chapter for future designs at swarovski, how long do you think this collaboration can continue and do you want it to go on for many more years?
IS: we always consider our relationships with our partners as long term. we may not do something with swarovski for a number of years but I don’t think it will ever be over. we will never force anything though. if the timing is not right or the project isn’t right, then we will be honest about it and wait. swarovski keep coming up with more exciting projects and we keep coming up with ideas to work with the fantastic material.
PF: the prologue is a really great example of this. it was first created in hong kong but swarovski wanted it at art basel in switzerland, later that year. we said that moving it there is all good, but hong kong was outside so it might look a little bit strange in an indoor, dark environment. as a solution, we hung it and reworked it in an amazing way. it was this four and a half meter circle and it was hung by one hook. you could push it and it would slowly move. this highlights how our relationships grow through new challenges.
the ‘superline’ chandelier
the ‘helios’ (left) and ‘rock’ (right) chandeliers
a close-up of the ‘rock’ installations
image © designboom
a close-up of the ‘helios’ and how the crystals can form classic chandelier shapes
image © designboom