Crystal and memory at the Design Museum

Digital Crystal: Swarovski at the Design Museum owes as much to memory in the digital age as it does to crystal and gemstones.

Digital Crystal designers L-R Back Row: Deyan Sudjic Design Museum; Anton Alvarez; Ian Stallard, Fredrikson Stallard; Philippe Malouin; Hilda Hellstrom. Front Row L-R: Conny Freyer, Troika; Patrik Fredrikson, Fredrikson Stallard; Florian Ortkrass, Random
Digital Crystal designers L-R Back Row: Deyan Sudjic Design Museum; Anton Alvarez; Ian Stallard, Fredrikson Stallard; Philippe Malouin; Hilda Hellstrom. Front Row L-R: Conny Freyer, Troika; Patrik Fredrikson, Fredrikson Stallard; Florian Ortkrass, Random International; Paul Cocksedge; Nadja Swarovski; Ron Arad

In a shattering collision of glass and recall these apparently unrelated themes are explored by the likes of Ron Arad, Yves Behar, and Troika in the new exhibition. 

Director of the Design Museum Deyan Sudjic says, ‘With the demise of the analogue era, our relationship and connection with personal memory, photographs, diaries, letters, time and ephemera is changing.’

Wrapping Crystal by Anton Alvarez
Wrapping Crystal by Anton Alvarez

With this state of play as its focus, Digital Crystal looks to the future, and our relationship with tangible objects in a changing world, where memories are stored online, and possessions have become more expendable or disposable.

Yves Behar's Amplify Chandelier
Yves Behar’s Amplify Chandelier

There are 14 commissions and some Swarovski archive pieces, which together address this tension.

Sunlight Video, a piece by Random International, begins the exhibition, leading visitors from the ground floor up into the main space by directing light through a Swarovski lens, and projecting images of film – in a recollection of analogue  projection.

Pandora by Fredrikson Stallard c Leo Torri
Pandora by Fredrikson Stallard c Leo Torri

Frederikson Stallard’s Pandora chandelier will form the centrepiece of the exhibition. It’s a repurposing of the 2007 project, which is a digitally programmed  reference to a classical chandelier, but with up and down movement, which creates  ‘a chaos of light and crystal, before reforming to its original shape.’

Pandora by Fredrikson Stallard c Leo Torri
Pandora by Fredrikson Stallard c Leo Torri

Ron Arad’s Lolita, designed for Swarovski in 2004, has been completely repurposed for the exhibition to allow older mobile phones and smart phones to communicate with the installation.

Ron Arad's Lolita credit Carlo Lavotri
Ron Arad’s Lolita credit Carlo Lavotri

Troika’s piece Hard Coded Memory is a very direct interpretation of the themes explored in the exhibition.

It considers the photograph, film and notebook in their analogue state and from this, the process by which photographs used to be shot, before only the best being selected for print, and everything else discarded.

The piece projects a photograph through a Swarovski lens to reproduce a blurred interpretation of an original photograph – as a faded memory.

Crystallize by Paul Cocksedge
Crystallize by Paul Cocksedge

Swedish designer Hilda Hellström is taking a look at myth and narrative in her piece The Monument, a crystal and jesmonite object representing mythical symbolism, which accompanied by a minute long film tells the story of Swarovski’s headquarters in Wattens, Austria. 

Digital Crystal: Swarovski at the Design Museum takes place from 5 September – 13 January 2013 at The Design Museum, Shad Thames, SE1

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