The Swarovski headquarters in Wattens is part art museum, part crystal shop, part gourmet haven — all in the middle of the Tirolean mountains. It only takes a few hours to immerse yourself in the Swarovski Crystal Worlds’ must-sees.
Maybe the most striking installation in the artsy complex is the “Giant,” a grass and crystal covered head that spouts water into a pond. Inside, the Chambers of Wonder form the heart of the exhibit. 17 rooms are filled with crystal art by international stars like Indian designer Manish Arora, Austrian multi-media artist André Heller, Israeli artist Arik Levy, and Mexican architect Fernando Romero. The latest addition by Yayoi Kusama is her only permanent “Infinity Mirror Room” in the world.
Outside, the Swarovski Crystal Worlds blend beautifully with the Alpine backdrop. In a Tolkien-like sprawl, short hills slope against pools of water, mazes, and mystical sculptures. Don’t miss the Crystal Cloud by landscape artists Andy Cao and Xavier Perrot, a monumental installation comprising some 800,000 hand-mounted Swarovski crystals that drift above a black Mirror Pool, and invite visitors to reflect. With a surface of around 15,000 sq-ft (1,400 square meters), this otherworldly creation is the largest of its kind in the world.
Another highlight of the Swarovski Crystal Worlds is the largest Swarovski flagship store with the biggest selection of Swarovski products worldwide. The design itself — with fascinating light and sound installations by the Norwegian architectural office Snøhetta — is a visually stunning piece of art in its own right. Browse for precious gifts and souvenirs that make for lasting memories.
This much exploring works up an appetite, so you should finish your visit with lunch or dinner at restaurant Daniels Kristallwelten (which actually warrants a trip on its own). Also designed by Snøhetta, it is housed in an amorphously-shaped pavilion in the sweeping garden area. Enjoy excellent views of the art in the park while feasting on the delectable creations by the award-winning chef and the restaurant’s very own patisserie.