Downtown Design speaks to designers Fredrikson Stallard about their installation at DXBDW and their design philosophy and inspiration.
Patrik Fredrikson and Ian Stallard began working together in 1995 and are recognized today as leading exponents of avant-garde design. Past collaborations with Swarovski include Eden, an immersive space evocative of a fantastical, archaic forest at Kristallwelten in Austria; Prologue, a huge disk of crystals set in a heavy steel structure that, when lit, takes on the appearance of a full moon, brought down to earth; and the Armory and Space Flower jewelry collections for Atelier Swarovski.
1. What is the story behind Prologue?
Prologue by Fredrikson Stallard is a large-scale outdoor installation that will be prominently displayed in the center of Dubai Design District (d3) throughout Dubai Design Week. Created by the London-based designers in 2014, ‘Prologue’ is a luminous circular sculpture featuring more than 8,000 topaz-colored crystals which shimmer as they reflect and refract the light, mimicking the iconography of the sun. This is the first time ‘Prologue’ has been exhibited in the Middle East.
Larger than life, this commissioned sculpture by Fredrikson Stallard combines a steel frame with thousands of crystal droplets. Simple in structure, yet complex in its endless nuances, Prologue’s presence activates any space, refracting and reflecting light in every which way. The circle is the end and the beginning, a cycle of infinite potential. And the work’s title is itself a prefix, alluding to what is yet to come.
“During the day,Prologue will be governed by natural daylight, yet at night, an artificiallighting design will illuminate the sculpture so it transforms into themoon. At no point will it ever be the same. Ever changing and adaptingPrologue’s sensory aspect will be heightened.Just as the optical lens had a profound effect on the development of art,with the ability to capture our imagination, Prologue emphasizes the newbeginning of this promising creative industries landmark, encapsulatingthe scope and scalability of renewed vision.”–Freire Barnes, International arts writer, editor and curator
“Our work with Swarovski is based on a shared understanding of concept,material and form. Prologue explores this with the pure simplicity of itscircular structure, allowing us to feel a primeval connection with the sun,with life and with new beginnings. Prologue’s juxtaposition of heavy, raw,industrial steel with the sparkling luminosity of precision cut crystal is thelatest installment in the ongoing story of our collaborative vision. As it makes its debut in the Middle East as we celebrate 10 years of collaboration with Swarovski, we hope Prologue ushers in new beginnings with the region.”—Patrik Fredrikson and Ian Stallard, Fredrikson Stallard
2. 2017 marks your 10th year of collaborating with Swarovski. What are some highlights or favorite projects over the years?
We have created some truly amazing and also very varied works with Swarovski over the last 10 years, from the incredible exploding chandelier “Pandora” to the architectural jewellery collection “Armory”. The works have spanned from homewares to sculpture, lighting, installations, even the crystals themselves with the recent Glaciarium components. It was truly amazing to create a whole new language of surfaces for these that together with their incredible facet cutting starts a new chapter in Swarovski’s history.
3. How have your design principles/philosophies evolved through the years?
Our philosophy has always been to be conceptually rigorous in what we create and to be the best at what we do.
4. How do you marry embracing new technology and materials, and staying grounded on your creative vision?
Our creative vision relies on a fusion between new technologies, traditional craft techniques, and archaic, instinctive methods of making. None of these takes hierarchy, they are all grounded.
5. Swarovski have cemented their commitment to nurturing the Middle East’s design community with the newly opened Swarovski Creative Center in Dubai Design District. What can emerging designers look forward to working with Swarovski?
The designers there can look forward to the creative freedom and openness that comes with working with Swarovski.
6. Who are your artistic influences, past and/or contemporary? How do other design fields inspire your work?
We find inspiration in an extremely diverse range of creative fields: dance, music, painting, sculpture, literature. We don’t think about walls between any of these fields, their underlying power of expression is what we see more than just an object.
7. It will be your first time in Dubai. What are you looking forward to?
Everything! Experiencing a new culture is always amazing, and being there for Dubai Design Week will be an exciting opportunity to dive into the local design scene.
8. Do you have any advice for young designers/creatives breaking into the industry?
Work hard and keep your mind and eyes open. Challenge preconceptions of what it is supposed to be. It is what you think it should be.
9. Any new projects (with Swarovski) to look forward to?
Yes, we are redesigning the Innsbruck store and creating a chandelier installation for Swarovski's new Campus building in Wattens. And there will be more to come…
To visit Fredrikson Stallard's website click here
Read more news from Downtown Design here