The famous Swarovski Kristallwelten (Swarovski Crystal World) is a breathtaking escape into a world of magic. With every corner that you will turn, your eye will capture sparkles and absoulte luxury. It is set within in the most prominant location in Austria. After a major expansion that has involved some of the most dynamic minds in the fields of architecture, art and design, Swarovski Crystal Worlds is entering a new era of wonder. The five Chambers of Wonder have been completely redesigned, more than doubling the existing size of the site, while the gardens around the iconic Giant have been remodelled into a striking artistic landscape.
Swarovski Kristallwelten (Swarovski Crystal Worlds), one of Austria’s most popular attractions, is celebrating the 120th anniversary of Swarovski and its own 20th anniversary. It is now even larger, more sparkling, and more fascinating than ever. On April 30, 2015, the wonderful crystalline destination is reopening its gates after an extensive expansion. Artists and designers from all over the world, as well as renowned architects, have created an expansive park landscape on 7.5 hectares, with unique installations and new buildings. Furthermore, five of the Chambers of Wonder inside the Giant were also redesigned.
To celebrate its 100th anniversary in 1995, Swarovski gave its customers and employees a special gift: the opening of Swarovski Crystal Worlds. The past 20 years have manifested international success. The concept of enchantment is understood throughout the entire world: In two decades, more than twelve million visitors from over sixty countries have been enchanted by the crystal experience in Wattens. The extensive redesign heralds a new era in the successful history of the Giant – Swarovski Crystal Worlds is now even larger, more diversified, and richer in wonder. “The expansion also changes the quality of the entire experience for visitors. We have created an overall concept based purely on the encounter with crystal. It accompanies guests from the moment they enter until they depart, offering them an unprecedented experience. The redesign of Swarovski Crystal Worlds is also proof that we treat our entrepreneurial heritage with respect; we pay tribute to our history – yet always remain clearly focused on the future. In doing so, we are emphasizing our strong commitment to our home town Wattens,” explains Markus Langes-Swarovski, member of the Swarovski Executive Board.
The launch of a new era:
With an investment of 34 million euros, the surface area was more than doubled within 1.5 years from 3.5 to 7.5 hectares, and five Chambers of Wonder were redesigned in cooperation with Swarovski’s international network of extraordinary artists. Architects of global renown created a park landscape with unique art installations and new attractions to surround the iconic Giant. “Together with our national and international partners we have created something new and atmospherically unique. We want to attract even more visitors from around the world with our additional offerings, and further enhance Swarovski Crystal Worlds as a year-round destination. We want to double the amount of time that people spend here, from about two to four hours,” says Stefan Isser, Managing Director of D. Swarovski Tourism Services GmbH. This expansion demonstrates once more the traditional Austrian company’s expertise in art, culture, architecture, and design. Since its founding in 1895, Swarovski has consistently developed its international network of creative minds. “We wanted to perpetuate an artistic legacy, the sensitive selection and orchestration of new protagonists, and new stimuli of experimental fantasy surrounding the secret of sparkling crystal,” says Carla Rumler, Cultural Director at Swarovski and curator of the expansion project.
Park landscape creates incomparable experiences:
Internationally renowned architects were responsible for the unique creation of this park landscape. The crowning piece of the new garden is the Crystal Cloud, designed by the American-French duo CAO PERROT (Andy Cao and Xavier Perrot). The mystical masterpiece occupies 1,400 square meters and consists of some 800,000 hand-mounted Swarovski crystals, floating above a black Mirror Pool. The playtower is completely new and unique in its form; the architects at Snøhetta designed a radically new building typology: Four levels arranged on top of each other offer a broad variety of play experiences and a very special spatial environment for young visitors. This area – for children of any age – is complimented by the innovative playground landscape under the open skies.
Daniels. Café & Restaurant, likewise designed by Snøhetta, is a pavilion flooded in light. Embedded in the garden, it frames the views of the surrounding landscape, promising unforgettable culinary delights – not least thanks to the homemade pastry. The shop entrance newly designed by Snøhetta is crafted as a fascinating installation of light and sound, like emotional and virtual time travel. The crystalline shopping experience itself contains areas for product and brand presentations and opens up to the garden. The redesign, conceived by general planners s_o_s architekten, is based on the image of a winding river. The visitor arrival area was also designed by s_o_s architekten. They took up the creative approach of CAO PERROT, combining art and landscape architecture to create spaces for dreaming, and placed a white forest as a threshold to the garden and the Grand Plaza in front of it.
New dimensions of wonder:
The Chambers of Wonder – designed along the lines of the historical Ambras Castle in Innsbruck – have fascinated the public for 20 years. In 2015, a new era of wonder will begin. The list of famous artists and designers who have redesigned these five rooms and their artworks is impressive. Tord Boontje designed a romantic winter landscape with 150,000 sparkling Swarovski crystals; the South Korean artist Lee Bul examines the interaction between visitors and space in her installation; the Chamber of Wonder by the British design duo Fredrikson Stallard includes crystal sculptures of up to 1.86 meters in height produced by Swarovski; and the extravagant Belgian-Dutch designers from Studio Job tell thousands of tales in the form of motion, music, and mirrors.
In addition, the company’s history is presented in a new narrative form in the Timeless area, created by the renowned museum designer HG Merz. The tradition-rich Italian firm Bisazza crafted an impressive mosaic for the dome and pillars in the Swarovski Kristallwelten Store.
Swarovski Kristallwelten (Swarovski Crystal Worlds) first opened in 1995 and since then the touristic destination has become one of Austria’s most popular attractions with an average of 600,000 visitors annually. On the occasion of the Tyrolean family-owned company’s 120 year anniversary this year, Snøhetta has been commissioned to take part in the expansion leading up to the grand re-opening of the Swarovski Kristallwelten on April 30.
Swarovski Crystal Worlds has put together a team of three architectural firms, including CAO PERROT, s_o_s architekten, and Snøhetta. “Snøhetta, CAO PERROT and s_o_s architekten have crafted a design and formal language of truly poetic tenor, which will mesmerize our visitors when it opens on April 30, 2015. The forces behind this international network of creative talents have engaged in a dialog with the uniqueness of this location. The rich abundance of facets that embody the Swarovski brand is reflected by the architecture of the new Swarovski Crystal Worlds“, says Carla Rumler, Cultural Director at Swarovski.
Snøhetta has contributed with three main elements to the expansion; a playtower and adjacent playground, a shop entrance, and a café and restaurant area.
With the goal of having the expanded Swarovski Kristallwelten appealing to all visitors’ senses, with a particular focus on children, a new building typology has emerged in this project. Situated in the south end of the garden, the 20 meter tall playtower will foster a wide range of playing experiences on four vertically arranged levels, creating an innovative experience of space. Here children can explore and play, and amongst other things, climb freely in a 14 meter one-of-a-kind climbing net.
The tower’s façade consists of 160 crystal facets, where no two are alike. The panels are printed with an innovative pattern made from millions of tiny motifs that are linked to the history of Swarovski. The view from inside to the outside is visible at all times, just as the activities on the inside always can be seen from the outside. At night, the structure presents a spectacular body of light that magically enhances the reflections of the surrounding Crystal Cloud and Mirror Pool.
This area, for children of any age, is complimented by an innovative playground landscape under the open skies. A free-form topography of steel and wood offers children an infinite number of ways to play. Not only is it possible to enjoy well-known kinds of activities, but children additionally have the opportunity to discover new games and forms of movement.
The café and restaurant area is formed as a pavilion that is embedded into the garden – organically shaped concrete structure framing the views into the surrounding landscape. Gently swinging pillars and ceilings accentuate the impression of form and light. The bright surfaces and the material, set with Swarovski Crystals, produce an effect that is beyond compare.
The newly designed shop entrance is crafted as a fascinating installation of light and sound – an emotional and virtual time travel. Kilometers of glowing fibers from a spiral-shaped tunnel lead the visitors into the New shopping area and an interactive sound installation expands the Space With an additional acoustic dimension.
Project name: Swarovski Kristallwelten (Swarovski Crystal World)
Location: Kristallweltenstraße 1, 6112 Wattens, Austria
Coordinates: 47.293685, 11.600995
Type: Mixed use
Site Area: 7.5 ha
Completion Year: 2015
Opening Date: April 30, 2015
Visit Swarovski Kristallwelten’s website: here
Client / Owner / Developer: Swarovski Kristallwelten
Architects: Snøhetta – Akershusstranda 21, N-0150 Oslo, Norway
- Project management: D. Swarovski Tourism Services GmbH
- Curation and artistic direction: Carla Rumler, Cultural Director Swarovski
- General planning, Entrance Hall, and Store: s_o_s architekten (Schlögl_Obermoser_Süß /Innsbruck, AUT)
- Daniels. Café & Restaurant, shop entrance, playtower, playground: Snøhetta (Oslo/NOR, New York/USA, Innsbruck/AUT)
- Garden: CAO PERROT (Los Angeles/USA, Rennes/FRA)
CHAMBERS OF WONDER:
- Silent Light: Tord Boontje, Studio Tord Boontje (London/GBR)
- Into Lattice Sun: Lee Bul (Seoul, South Korea/KOR)
- Studio Job Wunderkammer: Studio Job (Antwerp/BEL, Amsterdam/NLD)
- Eden: Fredrikson Stallard (London/GBR)
- Timeless: HG Merz, merz merz gmbh (Berlin/DEU)
- Dome and pillar design in Swarovski Kristallwelten Store: Bisazza (Vicenza/ITA)
- Local construction supervision: D. Swarovski KG (Wattens/AUT)
Text Description: © Courtesy of Snøhetta, Swarovski Kristallwelten
Images: © Snøhetta, David Schreyer, Swarovski Kristallwelten