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December 2009

Swarovski offers Vienna shimmering moments of wonder

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Swarovski Wien, in the heart of the Austrian capital on Kaerntner Strasse 24, now invites visitors into a sparkling, creative world of amazement and shopping. From 2 December, the innovative and inspirational Swarovski brand centre captivates visitors, offering them works of art created by internationally renowned artists alongside magically scintillating product presentations over three storeys. An illuminated, ever-changing exterior façade highlights the beauty of the crystal pieces inside, while glazed clear cubes extend into the street space, forming stages for installations by Belgian artist Arne Quinze and the wide range of Swarovski products.

Swarovski Wien offers a new, unique shopping atmosphere, with the modernised interior of a historic 19th century building hosting an inspiring interplay of design, everyday culture and crystalline wonder, blend together into a generously sized shopping landscape. “We chose Vienna for a reason,” explains Markus Langes-Swarovski, member of the Swarovski Executive Board, “as it is a city that has served as a melting point between east and west for centuries and is a cultural platform – both in a historical, classical sense, and as a modern, trend-focused urban centre.” The company set out to develop a new format adapted to the capital, which would secure its permanent position in the city. Andreas Braun, CEO of d. swarovski tourism services gmbh, continues: “Vienna as a location reflects our traditional identity as an Austrian/European brand, which in turn, will now also become a fascinating part of Vienna’s identity in all its dazzling variety.”

A multifaceted voyage of discovery across three levels
The new corporate and brand platform of Swarovski is a 15 million euro investment, and thus one of the most important projects of Swarovski in 2009. Located between Kaerntner Strasse, Marco-d’Aviano-Gasse and Neuer Markt, the new inspirational centre of Swarovski unfolds its magic across three levels. Alongside André Heller, the company’s long-term artistic adviser, Swarovski Wien was shaped by an international network of visionary individuals, symbolizing the rich tapestry of partnerships that Swarovski enjoys around the world. A unique voyage of discovery awaits visitors in Swarovski Wien, who are able to experience crystal in each of its facets. The spectacular “Honeycomb” exterior wall draws attention to the store from a distance, with the innovative façade – developed by Swarovski – making its debut in the Austrian capital, and shimmering beautifully through the use of thousands of crystals and LED lights. The façade is characterised by changing lighting moods, which vary from glowing molten lava to glittering, cool ice. Straddling the boundary between the interior and exterior, clear cubes offer the ideal stage for multimedia installations such as “Japanese Stilthouses”, by Belgian artist Arne Quinze. He also created the sparkling “Bidonville Wall” for the entrance area, where urban constructions are reinterpreted in artistic fashion. A glistening, reflective wall entitled the “Lake of Shimmer” creates an optical link between the three floors. The creative concept was designed by the Japanese designer Tokujin Yoshioka.

Architecture that divides and connects “old” and “new”
Adapting their work to the historical context, Tyrolean architects Hanno Schloegl and Daniel Suess have created a unique location that effortlessly opens a dialogue between the “old” and the “new”. The objective behind the building was to offer a modern, complementary counterpoint to the historical setting, and the two architects employed a crystalline design vocabulary that plays in particular with the cube element. Artistically created by Arne Quinze, the cubes can be seen into from both sides, and act as independent, unique elements as well as visual keystones between the sales and exhibition areas in the building’s interior. Furniture and fittings positioned freely within the space further emphasise the exceptional nature of the individual Swarovski product lines, while an elegant white escalator highlights the way in which crystal reflects and shapes light, and invites visitors to take in all three floors of sparkling experiences. When entering the lowest level of Swarovski Wien, the view opens upwards with a dramatic sense of space, accompanied by the feeling of becoming one with the glittering exterior façade.

Swarovski Wien reveals sparkling secrets
Swarovski Wien offers visitors countless crystalline enchantments that are as spectacular as they are unique. The world’s first “Honeycomb” façade features thousands of randomly positioned LED lights and crystals, and provides a magical interplay of light, design and crystal, day and night.

The irregularly distributed cubes extend into the street through the façade, and serve as illuminated stages for the sparkling, multimedia installations by Belgian artist Arne Quinze. With his four “Japanese Stilthouses” and the “Bidonville Wall” in the entrance area, the artist draws attention to the incredible speed of urban development, and expresses his wish for open communications in a profoundly humane environment.

The “Lake of Shimmer” installation was developed by Japanese designer Tokujin Yoshioka, and features thousands of mobile octagonal aluminium parts. Together, the 16,000 independent small mirrors form a silvery, shimmering area of 88 square metres. Their permanent state of reflection resembles the surface of a lake and symbolises the shaping of light that characterises crystal.

Visible from the exterior of the store, the prominently positioned “Cascade” chandelier is an enchanting attraction. The opulent, three-metre high piece resembles a waterfall flowing down from the ceiling above, and celebrates crystal and light at their most beautiful. The spectacular chandelier was created by Vincent van Duysen especially for the “Crystal Palace Collection”, and is undoubtedly one of the design highlights of Swarovski Wien.

Constant renewal, change and innovation are the maxims at Swarovski. Various “Eclectic Panthers” serve as an indicator of crystal’s immensely variable properties, with the idea of the project to reinterpret a classical, crystalline piece in a variety of ways. As such, 45 of these panther figures can be found in the heart of Vienna, with various colours, effects and materials, all based on precisely cut crystal.

Sparkling shopping experiences in one of the largest Swarovski stores
As one of the largest Swarovski stores worldwide, Swarovski Wien offers the company’s complete product range over three storeys. There is exclusive couture jewellery from Atelier Swarovski, as well as a host of fashionable accessories. Crystal objects such as the famous “Silver Crystal” figurines will delight keen collectors as much as stylish “Jewellery Collection” and “Crystal Moments” pieces. Home Décor products such as vases and bowls are available to bring crystal sparkle to living spaces, alongside precision optic devices from Swarovski Optik. Dramatic chandeliers are on show from the Swarovski Crystal Palace Collection, designed by amongst others of Ron Arad, Georg Baldele, Tord Boontje, Tom Dixon and Jaime Hayon, offering a unique interplay between light and crystal. Alongside London, New York, Shanghai and the Swarovski Crystal Worlds in Wattens, Vienna is now also home to an In-Store Boutique of Swarovski CRYSTALLIZED™, where visitors are invited to express their creativity through an incredible variety of loose crystal elements. As the company is renowned for its successful partnerships with respected partners from around the world, Swarovski Wien showcases highlights from partner brands made with CRYSTALLIZED™ – Swarovski Elements.
In the stylish atmosphere of the Moët & Chandon Bar on the first floor, visitors can toast their journey of crystal discovery with a glass of champagne, while from spring 2010, Swarovski will tempt its guests with outdoor culinary delights, in the Open Air Space on Neuer Markt. An international team welcomes visitors at Swarovski Wien, offering advice and expertise as required. In 25 different languages, including Arabic, Aramaic, Chinese, Greek, Tamil, Czech, Turkish and Vietnamese, all crystal-related questions can be answered.