Every year Swarovski Crystal Palace commissions an emerging designer to come up with a piece for them to exhibit at Design Miami, which uses their crystal and is inspired by water conservation. Swarovski commits themselves to efforts in water conservation because of its importance to the crystal making process. In 2013 they asked Brazilian architect Guilherme Torres to create an installation that is inspired by water conservation. Torres came up with a concept that created awareness around the depletion of the Mangrove ecosystems along Brazil’s coastline, which are important to the conservation of the coastline by protecting it from erosion.
Orion’s challenge was to review Torres’ concept for the event and engineer a way to bring it to life. Torres wanted the user experience to be unlike anything they’ve ever experienced before. Initial sketches from the designer showed the concept as crystal filled tubes that lived in a shallow pool of water covered with crystal on the bottom. Torres also incorporated a wooden walkway throughout the exhibit that allowed users to navigate the structure and interact with it.
I HAD A KIND OF EPIPHANY AT THE START OF THE PROJECT. I NEEDED A KIND OF MATRIX. WHAT ARE THE COMPONENTS OF SWAROVSKI CRYSTALS? I STARTED TO CONNECT THE DOTS, WHICH LED TO THE VORONOI DIAGRAM. –Guilherme Torres
After testing many concepts and ideas with the client the end result was an immersive experience that incorporated crystal, light, sound and visuals all by water conservation, mathematics, science and nature. The acrylic tubes that were used to represent the tangled roots of the trees held thousands of Swarovski crystals and were lit at each end by energy efficient LED lights. The tubes sat in a shallow pool of water, which held a wooden walkway made of reclaimed and certified wood. The entire piece was surrounded by a media screen with speakers that played sounds of the amazon, and a timed simulation of an amazonian sunset, bringing it all together to fully stimulate the users senses.