asif khan: parhelia for swarovski crystal palace at design miami
asif khan: parhelia for swarovski crystal palace at design miami asif khan: parhelia for swarovski crystal palace at design miami
dec 06, 2012

asif khan: parhelia for swarovski crystal palace at design miami

asif khan: parhelia for swarovski crystal palace at design miami‘parhelia’ by asif khan for swarovski crystal palaceimage © steve benisty




swarovski crystal palace commissioned asif khan to create a large-scale work for the occasion of designmiami/ 2012. drawing from his practice as an architect and interest in ice formations for the project, khan was influenced by the optical phenomenon in which ice crystals in the atmosphere work together, turning the sky into a lens which creates halos of light. continuing with his research-based practice, the khan collaborated with manchester university, UK in order to better understand the formation of this optical phenomenon, and how he could create the first indoor version of an ice halo.

asif khan parhelia for swarovski at designmiamiimage © steve benisty




‘parhelia’ which means ‘beside the sun’ in greek, is a small architectural experiment that takes the iconic shape of a house. measuring nearly 20-feet high, its metal framework is completed  by walls composed of a honeycomb structure where crystals  – more than 1.3 million are used – are strategically arranged within the openings in order that the exterior reflects the brilliance of the sun into large circles of dazzling light, the focus on nature demonstrating the purest  and most authentic expression of the material used. the immersive installation invites visitors to experience the infinitely reflected crystalline interior, the dynamic visual display constantly changing.  the tropical climate of miami beach offers a geographic contrast to the northern latitudes where ice halos normally occur.

asif khan talks to designboom about ‘parhelia’video © designboom





‘parhelia is an experiment that begins at the crossroads of architecture and nature,’ says khan.  ‘I was first inspired by the atmospheric and optical properties of the sky in northern latitudes and with the idea of transporting its light to a contrasting environment. this installation is about exploring the use of crystal as a medium to infuse architecture with light.’


‘for ten years, swarovski crystal palace has been a revolutionary project aimed at creating signature interpretations of light and design. swarovski commissioned asif khan to create a concept for designmiami/ that is inspired by nature while incorporating crystal in an instrumental way in his creation. the result is a ground-breaking architectural experience that will allow the visitor to experience a ‘natural’ phenomenon that would otherwise never been seen in miami,’ says nadja swarovski, member of the executive board, swarovski crystal business.

the walls of the structure are composed of crystals which act like a skinimage © designboom

image © designboom

detail of the crystal walls and metal frameworkimage © designboom

a honeycomb structure is used as the exterior skin in which crystals are strategically placed in order to reflect the sunlight in the correct wayimage © designboom

up close look at the crystal compositionimage © designboom

the interior of ‘parhelia’image © designboom

natural sunlight streams through the space bouncing off ‘parhelia’ to create the halosimage © designboom

where the base and side walls meetimage © designboom

image © designboom

crystals are strategically placed along the honeycomb skinimage © designboom

image © designboom

image © designboom

substructure of ‘parhelia’image © designboom

parhelia by asif khan for swarovski crystal palacevideo © swarovski crystal palace

architect asif khan with ‘parhelia’portrait © designboom

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