In response to this, in 1995, when the company celebrated its centenary, Swarovski opened its experiential Kristallwelten (Crystal Worlds), cultural center. The venue, which has attracted over 15 million visitors to date, captures the spirit of Swarovski as a springboard for boundless creativity. Accordingly, Kristallwelten’s multisensory attractions encompass art, design, music, cuisine, seminars and workshops.
Mixed-media artist André Heller dreamt up its original overarching concept — a mysterious subterranean giant whose green form blends seamlessly into the landscape. Heller was inspired by his childhood in Vienna, where he imagined giants roaming the streets and by the Chamber of Art and Wonders at the Ambras Castle in Innsbruck, which aimed to display an encyclopedic knowledge of the world with a vast collection of cultural artefacts.
While Kristallwelten’s green giant might look like he’s sleeping, the truth is far from that. In 2015, to mark Swarovski’s 120th anniversary and Kristallwelten’s 20th birthday, the center reopened after a major expansion. And later this year its repertoire of Chambers of Wonder will be extended with the opening of a new chamber timed to celebrate Swarovski’s 125th anniversary and pointing towards an exciting future.
And Kristallwelten, too, has its Chambers of Wonder, including the Blue Hall showcasing art by Andy Warhol, Niki de Saint Phalle and Salvador Dalí.
Elsewhere there are shimmering immersive experiences by artist Yayoi Kusama, designer Jaime Hayon and musician Brian Eno. Alongside the chambers buried inside the giant, Kristallwelten also boasts expansive garden featuring the monumental installation, ‘Crystal Cloud’ by Cao Perrot, with its 800,000 shining Swarovski crystals.
The Kristallwelten experience doesn’t end with the museum, with fans of the brand able to indulge themselves fully, from the fine dining opportunities at Daniel’s Restaurant (named after company founder Daniel Swarovski) to the expansive Swarovski Kristallwelten store. The center’s multidisciplinary approach is reflected too in Swarovski’s Innsbruck and Vienna Kristallwelten flagship shops, which meld design, art and fashion. The first is animated by artist Susanne Rottenbacher’s vertical light installation Lily Pond with its iridescent surfaces, the second by Tokujin Yoshioka’s enthralling Lake of Shimmer installation — a multitude of mirrors in perpetual motion and Surrealist-inspired window performances by cross-disciplinary artist Iris van Herpen.