Instead of normal display windows, there are glass cubes and an art space which serve as a “window into a dream world.” Until now, this space has provided a prominent stage for over fifty installations with more than twenty artists, including renowned personalities such as Philip Treacy, Manish Arora, Susanne Bisovsky, or Jean Paul Gaultier. The Dutch designer Iris van Herpen will be presenting her installation in April 2019 in celebration of the Store’s anniversary.
“For the opening of the first Swarovski Kristallwelten Store outside of Tyrol, the choice was clear: Vienna, a city that serves as a hub between East and West and lives and breathes culture,” says Carla Rumler, Cultural Director Swarovski. As curator of Swarovski Kristallwelten (Swarovski Crystal Worlds), she has been in charge of creative collaborations with design heavyweights such as Jean Paul Gaultier, Philip Treacy, Manish Arora, Susanne Bisovsky, or also Tord Boontje and Simon Costin since 2009.
The Swarovski Kristallwelten Store Wien has been setting the stage ever since, showcasing the versatility of crystal, the innovative talent of Swarovski, and its numerous international partnerships in the world of fashion and design. A “stage” in the truest sense of the word, this large art space and the cubes are actually much more than your run-of-the-mill display window.
Since 2009, Swarovski Kristallwelten Store Wien’s vision for the art space has been to use the bustling Kärntner Straße as a window into a dream world. In the past decade, more than twenty artists from various fields and from more than ten different countries have created fifty installations there. “We were able to get an international network of artists on board to tell fantastic, esthetic, and exceptional stories right in the middle of Vienna’s most sought-after shopping street,” adds Carla Rumler.
For Stefan Isser, Managing Director of D. Swarovski Tourism Services GmbH, close cooperation with the tourism industry is very important: “Keeping up with the times is one of Swarovski Crystal World’s maxims, as the number of collaborations with artists as well as with institutions from art and culture over the past ten years clearly shows. This means that Swarovski Kristallwelten Store Wien is not only a place to showcase Swarovski crystals, it is also especially important for showcasing Vienna’s diverse cultural and design scene, catering to an international audience with visitors from around the world.”
The Swarovski name is also an important source of cultural richness for a cosmopolitan city like Vienna; representatives from culture and tourism confirm that the crystalline shopping paradise plays a part in shaping the Austrian capital’s identity:
Susanne Bisovsky, fashion designer and artist, opened the installation “The Northern Lights,” which has been on display at the Swarovski Kristallwelten Stores Wien, Wattens, and Innsbruck since November 2018. With reference to the collaboration, she notes: “When I talk about crystals, it makes me feel like a child – every sparkle makes me happy. Swarovski Crystal Worlds makes it possible for me to fully dedicate myself to this fascination. The art spaces are an international showpiece that appeals to people on many levels. Peggy Siegal, the New York publicist, liked ‘Viennese Chic,’ the first installation I did in 2016, so much that she commissioned a similar ensemble for the Met Gala. This is how good work continues to multiply.”
Lilli Hollein, the director of Vienna Design Week, has had a partnership with Swarovski Crystal Worlds since 2012. She emphasizes the significance of the Swarovski Kristallwelten Store for Vienna: “When a company like Swarovski attaches so much importance to design in Vienna, this is a form of acknowledgement for the entire scene. By using Swarovski Kristallwelten Store Wien’s display, this famous space makes world-class designers and artists accessible to the public.”
Norbert Kettner, the director of the Vienna Tourist Board, on the liaison between Vienna and Swarovski:
“Swarovski recognized Vienna’s potential as a metropolis of art and design and also seized the opportunity by opening the first Kristallwelten Store outside of Tyrol here. As a partner, Swarovski Crystal Worlds offers expertise and professionalism while combining tradition with innovation. We think very highly of them. For example, Swarovski Crystal Worlds was one of the first companies in Austria to offer Alipay, a mobile payment system that caters specifically to visitors from China.”
There will be many initiatives in the 2019 anniversary year. The main highlight will be in April, when Swarovski Kristallwelten Store Wien invites the designer Iris van Herpen to transform the cubes and art spaces. The avant-garde Dutch artist is known for combining classic craftsmanship and modern technology and is considered to be one of the most innovative designers of her generation. Following her collaboration with international stars such as Beyoncé and Lady Gaga, she will be bringing her vision of freedom and transformation to Vienna starting in April 2019. “I want people to experience movement and change – both physically and mentally.” Isn’t this an ideal motto for the next ten years?