Falling Light by Troika @ Design Miami 2010

Falling Light by Troika @ Design Miami 2010

Swarovski Crystal Palace is the proud sponsor of Design Miami 2010, and is exhibiting “Falling Light” in collaboration with London art and design talent, Troika.

This year’s collaboration with Troika’s mechanical installation demonstrates the purest expression of crystal, making that as a functional lens which catches and refracts light.

‘Falling Light’ is an installation, consisting of 50 ceiling suspended mechanical devices each incorporating a custom cut Swarovski crystal optical lens, a computer programmed motor and a white LED. The armatures rise in syncopation by rotating cam before gravity releases them earthward, activating the LED to move away, closer to the crystal lens. The lens acts as a prism, transforming through diffraction, the LED’s white light into a rainbow myriad, in turn creating the rhythmical ebb and flow of the floor-strewn droplets.

Sight and sound converge in the space, demanding that viewers play the role of participants.

Sebastien Noel of Troika explains: “For ‘Falling Light’ we chose to work with the intrinsic qualities of Swarovski Crystal optical lenses and their ability to achieve the most precise and pure rainbow halo; in a way, we reduced the use of the crystals to their essence, their bare optical properties… The magic of crystals and their extreme transparency allowed us to bend our visual world, which is key to our installation.”

Design Miami / 2010   ( 30th Nov- 5th Dec )


nadja swarovski, noel sebastien, li edelkoort, conny freyer

This year’s collaboration is in line with Swarovski’s mission to support emerging talent from the architecture, design, art and technology worlds, constantly redefining the use of crystal as a material for expression.

Swarovski Crystal Palace is a platform for creative expression and experimentation with innovation and technology, says Nadja Swarovski, Vice President of International Communications at Swarovski.

Since its inception in 2002 during the Milan Furniture Fair, Swarovski Crystal Palace has changed the course of design, by establishing a platform for leading players in international design to conceptualize, develop and share their most radical works.

Swarovski Crystal Palace is a think tank for the convergence of art, design, science and technology.

This ongoing forum has commissioned such noteworthy talents as Ron Arad, Zaha Hadid and Vincent van Duysen to develop original artworks implementing crystal as a creative ingredient.

Today, the acclaimed curator, design and architecture journalist and author, Suzanne Trocmé, will be in conversation with multi-disciplinary art and design practice TROIKA from London. Designers Conny Freyer and Sebastien Noel will discuss their collaboration with Swarovski Crystal Palace and installation “Falling Light”.

About Troika

Sebastien Noel, Conny Freyer and Eva Rucki (Photograph by Anja Schaffner)

The Troika partnership, run by Conny Freyer, Sebastien Noel and Eva Rucki,
have broken new ground in their multidisciplinary approach to projects and, since their establishment in 2003, have collected an impressive client list including British Airways, the BBC, the Science Museum, Warner Music, MTV and Thames & Hudson.

The three designers met in their first week at the Royal College of the Arts ( UK) . “We followed each others’ developments throughout the two years at the RCA closely,” Rucki said. “We have the same attitude to work and what we want out of work. We also have a curiosity that there is more than one way to do things. There is not a right answer to a problem but different dimensions.”

Rucki, like Freyer, earned her MA in Communication Art and Design at the RCA. Before joining Troika she had worked as a designer for Ständige Vertretung, Berlin, and as an editor at Bermudashorts, London, following a first degree at Arnhem in the Netherlands.

Fellow-German Freyer, 32, is a graphic designer and illustrator. She studied Communication Design and Photography in Montreal and worked both in Canada and Germany before joining the RCA.

Frenchman Noel, 31, is a product designer and engineer who worked for Antonio Citterio and Mario Bellini in Milan before joining the RCA. He studied engineering in Paris and graduated from the Design Products Department at the College.

Noel joined Freyer and Rucki after a stint working with Design Products professor Ron Arad on an installation for the 2004 Venice Biennale. The two women had started working immediately following graduation on Troika’s first commission for Booth-Clibborn editions, designing and producing Moscow Style.

“Apart from the possibilities to concentrate on the development of your work entirely free of commercial constraints, the time at the RCA also offers you unlimited inspiration,” Freyer said. “Whereas in a commercial environment you are mainly pushed for maximum output, the time at the RCA can be used for maximum input, which lays the basis for your work for years to come.”

The partnership say one of the main assets of the RCA, next to its excellent teaching staff and workshop facilities, is its varied, talented international student body. “It is a good place to find future collaborators, as a lot of the people who come to the RCA are motivated to start their own practice,” Noel added.

The studio’s work spans disciplines from graphics to product design and art installations, but the creative use of technology and cross-fertilisation between art and design are recurring themes.

Their projects for the Science Museum, where they have produced exhibition graphics for the galleries and concept products for the Spymaker exhibition, as well as their forthcoming book Digital by Design, which is an overview of the fusion of digital technology and art and design production, illustrate their multi-faceted approach. The art installation Cloud for Terminal 5, a digital sculpture, is another example. The trio discovered that clients were excited rather than confused by the different areas they covered, and it has become a trademark of the studio. “Now, we just enjoy the fact that we have created an environment for ourselves in which we can engage with a variety of different subjects. The different expertise each team member brings to the table is one of our most valuable assets and inspirations and we believe that a multi-disciplinary team is fruitful ground for innovation,” Rucki said

Since establishing the studio in 2003 Troika’s work has been exhibited at the Victoria & Albert Museum London, the Science Museum London, Tate Britain, at the British Council touring show in China at Guangzhou, Shanghai and Beijing, and in 2008 at the MoMA in New York.

Troika‘s work is represented in the permanent collections of the British Council, Victoria and Albert Museum and the Museum Of Modern Art New York. In 2009, Troika won the D&AD Yellow Pencil for their digital sculpture ‘Cloud’ in London Heathrow Terminal 5 and was commissioned to design the installations for the UK Pavilion for the Shanghai Expo 2010.

In addition they are currently working on a series of large scale permanent installations in Canada, Singapore and the United States.

Light installation for the UK Pavilion at the World Expo in Shanghai, 2010.

Troika created small lighting devices called ‘light rain engines’, which were specially designed for this installation. These devices, using powerful leds as well as precise motors and a simple but sophisticated arrangement of lenses, refract their white light sources to project a series of animated raindrops encircled by a halo of vibrant, rainbow coloured light on the floor of a walkway in the pavilion. From gentle drizzle to heavy rain, the light raindrops enliven the space, creating a beautiful and playful environment in which to reconsider the importance of one of the most simple and essential natural phenomena.

Installation for Onedotzero festival 2008/2009

Troika was commissioned by onedotzero to create a custom installation and visual identity around the theme of this year’s festival ‘Citystates’. Opting to create an installation and identity that integrate into each other, Troika designed a modern digital zoetrope as the cornerstone of the identity. The idea for the zoetrope comes directly from the festivals ‘adventures in motion’ payoff and this year’s theme ‘Citystates’. Revolving around themes of urban exploration and sensory impressions emerging from the different speeds we traverse our cities at, whether walking, cycling or driving, opening up new visual, tactic and sonic layers to the city.

An Electroluminescent Art Wall for British Airways Heathrow Terminal 5

Troika was commissioned by Artwise Curators to create ‘All the Time in the World’; a 22m long electroluminescent wall that marks the entrance to the First and Concorde Galleries lounges in the new Heathrow Terminal 5.

Created using a state of the art electroluminescent display system designed by Troika, ‘All the Time in the World’ extends the conventional notion of a world clock, which commonly concentrates on capital cities in different time zones, by linking real time to places with exciting and romantic associations like far-away places, exotic wonders and forgotten cultures.

Multimedia installation

Spanning across a 50 meter long corridor, 467 fish-like objects wrapped in iridescent colours and suspended from the ceiling rotate rhythmically around their own axis
to display the movements and interdependency typical to shoal of fish.

The ceiling architecture is set in motion and appears liquified changing the spatial experience of the corridor while opening up the surrounding architecture infinitely
towards Lake Ontario

A Digital Sculpture For British Airways Terminal 5

Troika was commissioned by Artwise Curators to create a signature piece for the entrance of the new British Airways luxury lounges in Heathrow Terminal 5.

In response, we created ‘Cloud’, a five meter long digital sculpture whose surface is covered with 4638 flip-dots that can be individually addressed by a computer to animate the entire skin of the sculpture. Flip-dots were conventionally used in the 70s and 80s to create signs in train-stations and airports. By audibly flipping between black and silver, the flip-dots create mesmerizing waves as they chase across the surface of ‘Cloud’. Reflecting its surrounding colours, the mechanical mass is transformed into an organic form that appears to come alive, shimmering and flirting with the onlookers that pass by.


Introducing soothing gravity to your laptop

Named after the father of modern mechanics, the ‘Newton Virus’ introduces the concept of gravity causing your desktop to behave exactly as it would in the real physical environment. Desktop icons become susceptible to Newton’s invisible force and fall, roll and tumble in whatever direction gravity pulls them delivering a little bit of reality to your virtual environment. Perfect for spicing up your colleagues day or simply enjoying the marvels of Newtonian principles at work.

But not to worry, the non-destructive virus will not replicate itself, mail itself to your friends or destroy any of your files, but instead provide you with moments of blissful surprise and magic.

The Newton Virus is now part of the permanent collection at MOMA, New York

In the early days of computing viruses were born out of the wit of early computer adopters, viruses whose sole purpose was to surprise and amuse. Essentially creating non-destructive forms of artificial life. We wanted to revive this golden era, and went on to create our first computer virus. We chose to do it for Mac as the platform is still a virgin territory. At the same time the virus toys with the idea of interaction beyond the strictly functional. The virus celebrates the urge for humans to play while introducing some of the randomness of reality into our strictly controlled and de-humanized virtual environments.


About the recently released Swarovski Crystal Palace Book

Swarovski Crystal Palace is a revolutionary project that aims to create signature interpretations of light and design using the emotive medium of cut crystal. Whilst celebrating and reinterpreting the rich traditions of the chandelier, Swarovski has pushed boundaries, and opened a new chapter in the history of lighting and design.

Now in its 9th year, Swarovski Crystal Palace has evolved to a platform for creative expression and experimentation with innovation and technology

Launched in 2002, Swarovski Crystal Palace is a shimmering series of sculptural pieces that had its debut at the Milan Furniture Fair.

This ongoing forum has commissioned such noteworthy talents as Ron Arad, Zaha Hadid and Ross Lovegrove to develop original artworks in crystal.

Through a brief history of Swarovski crystal we learn of its refined tradition as well as its bold vision for the future. Along the way, we delve deeper into the Swarovski Crystal Palace designers, with interviews and articles on their individual philosophies. We follow the pieces step by step through design and construction. We see the works on display in such venues as Salone del Mobile, Design Miami, MoMA and the Barbican.

We also glimpse the artworks in the homes of celebrities and other persons of note, such as the Swarovski family members themselves.

Swarovski Crystal Palace Book Launch invitation


Nadja Swarovski and Craig Robins at the book launch in Miami

crystal palace book launch dinner

Nadja Swarovski and Craig Robins, the founder of Design Miami, hosted a dinner Tuesday in the 15th-floor penthouse Soho House in Miami to celebrate the fair and the new book “The Art of Light and Crystal.”

Nadja Swarovski was asked whether, as a general rule, she thought Miami had enough crystals …..  “Probably not,” she said. “Although, when it comes to other cities in the world, it ranks pretty high. There can always be more crystals.”

About Swarovski

In 1895, Daniel Swarovski I, a Bohemian inventor and visionary, moved to the village of Wattens, Tyrol in Austria, with his newly-invented machine for cutting and polishing crystal jewellery stones.

From this beginning that revolutionised the fashion world, Swarovski has grown to be the world’s leading producer of precision-cut crystal for fashion, jewellery and more recently lighting, architecture and interiors.

Today, the Swarovski group, still family-owned and run by 4th and 5th generation family members, has a global reach with some 24,800 employees, a presence in over 120 countries and a turnover in 2009 of 2.25 billion Euros.

Swarovski comprises two major businesses, one producing and selling loose elements to the industry and the other creating design-driven finished products. Swarovski crystals have become an essential ingredient of international design.

Since 1965 the company has also catered to the fine jewellery industry with precision-cut genuine and created gemstones. Showing the creativity that lies at the heart of the company, Swarovski’s own brand lines of accessories, jewellery and home décor items are sold through more than 1,800 retail outlets worldwide.

The Swarovski Crystal Society has close to 350,000 members across the world, keen collectors of the celebrated crystal figurines. And in Wattens, Swarovski Kristallwelten, the multi-media crystal museum, was opened in 1995 as a celebration of Swarovski’s universe of innovation and inspiration.

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