Zotem is a dynamic installation, created by Thomé to engage audiences in an active interplay of scale, movement, and light. It is evocative of a modern day totem, designed to draw visitors’ eyes upwards – and to fit the grand scale of the place of exhibition, working with each site’s unique architecture. Set against the striking backdrop of the spaces, vivid geometric patterns, printed on a mesh canvas, run in a continuous loop inside the totem framework and are illuminated in prismatic color, reflected and refracted by Swarovski crystal to create a hypnotic visual illusion. The installation comprises custom-made Swarovski crystals scaled up to 2.5 times their regular size and displayed in a grid pattern against a backdrop of matte black steel.
The name, Zotem, is a word-blending of the sounds and meanings of ‘totem’ and ‘zoetrope’ – a 19th century animation device that pre-dates film and gives the illusion of motion by displaying a sequence of isolated drawings that appear to move as they flit past the eye in quick succession. The looping mechanism of Zotem, which is visible through the open sides of the structure, also references the traditional animation technique.
Swarovski has previously commissioned art from influential designers and architects including: John Pawson, Amanda Levete, Faye Toogood, Frith Kerr, Ilse Crawford, Marc Newson, Michael Anastassiades, Nick Knight, Paul Cocksedge, Ron Arad, Ross Lovegrove, Stephen Webster, Stuart Haygarth, Tom Dixon, and Tord Boontje, amongst many others.
Launched in 2014, Design Shanghai has fast become China’s leading international design event. During the 2015 edition of the show Swarovski presented ‘Prologue’, a piece by London-based designers Fredrikson Stallard, produced to mark the 15th anniversary of the Swarovski Waterschool.
At the intersection of art and design, Swarovski continues offer support – and Kim Thomé‘s high-rising structure is the perfect way to celebrate a passion for design and respect for creativity. “I am delighted that Zotem will be resurrected in Shanghai, more specifically, in the striking Shanghai Exhibition Centre,” notes artist Kim Thomé.