Who hasn’t heard about THE Swarovski? The Swarovski Crystal Worlds, created by Andre Heller, is a pure invitation to dream. Only a 20 minutes’ drive away from Innsbruck in Austria this sparkling fantasy world is definitely worth a visit.
Swarovski was founded by Daniel Swarovski in the Austrian village of Wattens in 1895. Today, more than 110 years later, it remains a family-run enterprise under the management of fourth and fifth-generation descendants of Daniel Swarovski. The Swarovski Crystal range includes crystal glass sculptures, miniatures, jewelry and couture, home decor, and chandeliers. The original Swarovski logo was an edelweiss flower. The current swan logo was adapted in 1988.
The Museum (Crystal Worlds)
Swarovski is arguably Austria’s best-known export; the crystals that brought the company a worldwide success have been incorporated into a subterranean theme park with a difference in Wattens, a suburb of Innsbruck. It’s more modern art gallery than behind-the-scenes glimpse into the actual creation of Swarovski’s famous crystal animals and jewelry, with a series of 14 cavernous exhibition halls designed by an international band of contemporary artists, is loosely themed around crystal.
Entrance leads underground through the mouth of a giant monster with crystal eyes and the highlight is André Heller’s Crystal Dome, which sparkles with ever-changing light reflected from the stones, accompanied by moody music from Brian Eno. Other exhibits include the eerie Ice Passage, illuminated with millions of sparkles and with crystals crunching under foot by Olivier Irschitz, and Susanna Schmögner’s cute Crystal Theater, featuring sparkling zebras and gleaming red stiletto shoes.
Chambers in the museum
The museum takes you into a fairy-tale world. The museum is comprised of a series of rooms/sections called chambers, each with its own theme. As you walk from one chamber to another, seeing exhibit after exhibit, you surely would feel awed. It is truly a combination of creativity, art, design, innovation, and CRYSTALS.
The entrance hall at the Crystal Worlds welcomes you to a unique expedition. In the semi-darkness, you encounter glittering crystal works of art by well-known artists. This chamber was designed by André Heller as a symbiosis of art and crystal. Centenary, the world’s largest ever manufactured crystal is displayed in the middle of the hall. It weighs a massive 300,000 carats. It has a diameter of 40 cm and features 100 hand-polished facets to symbolize 100 years of Swarovski.
You also get to see the smallest crystal in the world. This tiny crystal has a diameter of only 0.8 mm and has a cross-section with 17 facets. You can see and admire the largest crystal, but it is not possible to take a photo of the smallest as you have to look through a special magnifying tool.
Above your head, hangs a huge and marvellous chandelier, resembling a breathing jellyfish that changes its color. The chandelier weighs more than 500 kilograms.
Black Stallion is the replica Chetak, the historical brave horse of Maharaja Pratap. It is decorated with beautiful crystals. Daniel Swarovski Paris, was given the exclusive rights to recreate the precious horse jewel out of Swarovski crystals.
After the entrance hall is Jim Whiting's Mechanical Theater (The Wonder of Technology). It is an exotic display of a revolving fashion show, dancing trousers, disintegrating human body, and a lot more. In one corner of the chamber you can hear a romantic music beside a mechanical couple having coffee. Jim Whiting became interested in mechanics when he was forced to wear a corset/brace as a child to combat a medical condition. The technology responsible for the high-precision movements in the mechanical theater stems from the works of the engineers of Swarovski's workshops. Genius.
This dome is a creation by André Heller and Susanne Schmögner. With 590 mirrors covering its walls, light is reflected in all facets. The Crystal Dome offers a kaleidoscope rich with colours. This breathtaking spectacle is stylishly accentuated with music by Brian Eno.
It is the biggest kaleidoscope of crystals in the world. The installation is exclusively designed by André Heller and Peter Mandl. It casts variations of images that appear from the ever emerging crystal formations.
Crystal Theatre: It is a stage of fantasy, which was created by Susanne SchmÖgner. A crystalline fairy-tale world, Crystal Theatre is full of colour and mystery.
The desire to overcome all language barriers led to the conception of the crystal calligraphy. The verse on the wall of this Chamber is from the poem “The Wine of Lovers” by Charles Baudelaire. The American glass artist, Paul Seide bathed the chamber in blue-green light.
The Ice passage is created by Oliver Irschitz. The mystical passage reveals a very special force of attraction. Each step through the dark room becomes part of the design process. As soon as you set foot on unknown terrain, the icy, glittering world changes its face and reveals its secrets. You become both researcher and explorer. A light follows your each & every movement and provides specific insights into a glistening world.
The Giant´s Belongings:
It tells the story of how the Giant lived before he settled down in Wattens. This chamber is created by André Heller. Some of his precious belongings and the gigantic little things he took with him on his travels provide information about his past.
La Primadonna Assoluta:
It shows two Solitaires in harmony. The well-known soprano Jessye Norman celebrated a spectacular performance in the Crystal Dome against the brilliance of thousands of Swarovski crystals
Design in design: This is undoubtedly the biggest Swarovski shop in the world. Created by interior architects and designers of Conran & Partners, this shop creates an illusion of journey through day and night. You will experience the multifaceted atmospheric pictures of night turning into day, when wandering around the shop and hence you will be guided by the different moods between light and darkness.
After spending the morning at the museum, you can plan to spend the rest of the day at Innsbruck. Whatever you decide to do, Austria is packed with manmade wonders & scenic vistas. Get planning your Swarovski tour for a glimpse of the glittering paradise.
Team Veena World