A monumental sun sculpture suspends 8,000 crystal droplets at Design Miami Basel with a primitive brilliance of luminosity.
Entitled Prologue, the “simple but monumental” structure contains 8,000 individually hung crystal droplets encircled in a patinated steel frame suspended from a beam.
‘Prologue’s’ luminous ring mimics the iconography of the sun as it shimmers and constantly reflects and refracts light as it gently moves.
Conceived specifically for a public space, Fredrikson and Stallard said; “We wanted something that could communicate on all levels, from the construction worker to child to the elderly and also cross cultural boundaries.”
How quickly did you settle on the idea of the sun?
The first time we did a public commission was huge learning curve for our practice. It was for Veuve Clicquot and I remember no-one could leave the office for the whole of Easter. Then, we had approached it like you approach any other project and you can’t do that. With public spaces, it has to communicate on all sorts of levels, and has to be immediate. Of course, I can only speak for our studio, but you can’t get too personal and egotistical about what you are doing. Instead, it has to be open and more generous.
Were there any other ideas before you settled on the sun?
Yes, and they may be something we use in the future, as although good, they involved enclosure and dark environments which felt wrong as we wanted it to be just there, you know, turn round a corner and bam it’s in your face. Hong Kong, China has so much more symbolism in all sorts of things, shapes, colours and numbers. The sun was something we knew would have symbolism in the East and West in a very simple way.
Is it for sale?
We are sitting in a very commercial fair, so I think the best way forward is to say of course its for sale, everything is for sale. And who ever would like to acquire it, it would be its own piece and site specific.
During your talk you mentioned an architectural project. Can you expand on that?
It’s for part of Swarovski’s 120th anniversary and will be at Crystal World, their visitor centre. We will be creating an environment where people can interact with the space, which has to be something we are happy with on an intellectual level but also can be understood by tourists from the Tirol. It will be something they can easily understand and take as much as they want to from it – like ‘Prologue’.
Holding similar messages for different audiences, the work was first shown in the courtyard of the ‘The Former Hollywood Road Police Married Quarters’, in Hong Kong for the Art Basel fair in May before coming to Basel, Switzerland.
Then, “it was important that it spoke of location and people, and there was a slight tension between it and the site. In Switzerland, it’s hung indoors, like a gallery, and it’s tension is of weight”, said Stallard.
The circular sculpture weighs one and a half tonnes, is four meters high and holds 8,000 crystal droplets, all held in place by one hook. “You can push it with one finger.”, says Fredrikson. Within, there are two colours of crystals “to emphasise the amber-orange glow”, which is received as one vibrant colour.
Scale is paramount to Prologue. It is intended to dwarf the viewer without being overbearing. Instead, its dazzling beauty, created by the luminous veil of crystals generates awe and ignites a response.
Nadja Swarovski, commented: “Fredrikson Stallard are amongst the most talented designers working today and their installations are always highly impactful and very beautiful. ‘Prologue’ is a glowing symbol of life, and its power lies in its scale. Its compelling presence draws the viewer closer, allowing us to feel a primeval connection with the sun.”