Pawson has had a longstanding, fruitful relationship with Swarovski, working together to investigate the aesthetic and optical possibilities of crystal. The first of many collaborations, his monumental, eye-opening installation, Perspectives — the largest lens Swarovski has ever made — harks back to an important part of Swarovski’s heritage — Swarovski Optik, its high-precision optical instruments line, founded in 1949.
Perspectives has been exhibited at St Paul’s Cathedral in 2011 and at the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna in 2015. It was also shown during the Venice Biennale in 2013 at the Basilica di San Giorgio Maggiore, designed by Andrew Palladio. Positioned beneath the central cupola of these magnificent buildings, the piece revealed architectural perspectives that would otherwise have been invisible to the naked eye. Of Perspectives, Pawson has said, ‘Its focus has never been the physical piece so much as how it enables people to see in a different way.’
Pawson’s dematerialized aesthetic is equally evident in his Vessels collection for Atelier Swarovski, Swarovski’s homeware range: his deceptively simple crystal bowls, vases and tealight holders have irregular facets that render the pieces semi-opaque. They refract light in subtly different ways depending on the angle they’re viewed from.
In 2017, Swarovski and the British Fashion Council commissioned Pawson to create a trophy for all 12 categories of the Fashion Awards that year. Once again, his idea was understated yet arresting — faceted cylindrical blocks each enclosing a slender, graphic colored, black or white thread, which gives them a pop twist.