Digital Crystal

Digital Crystal


The Design Museum and Swarovski collaborated to create the Digital Crystal exhibition which examines memory in the digital age, when our relationships with objects and images are in flux.

‘With the demise of the analogue era our relationship and connection with personal memory, photographs, diaries, letters, time and ephemera is changing,’ explained the museum’s director Deyan Sudjic.

“This exhibition questions our relationship with the changing world. It seems all too easy to lose connection with the tangible and the real, as we move ever faster through a digital age where memory and the personal possessions we once held so highly are now online, or gone in an instant.”

The public is invited to share memories and be a part of the exhibition by tweeting or texting Ron Arad’s installation, Lolita, from anywhere in the world — sending messages that travel around the crystal using complex LED technology.

Among the 15 designers who have produced new or especially updated installations for the exhibition are —– Random International / Semiconductor / Fredrikson Stallard / Troika / Anton Alvarez / Paul Cocksedge / Arik Levy / Philippe Malouin / Ron Arad / Hye-Yeon Park / Hilda Hellström / Marcus Tremonto / Yves Béhar / Maarten Baas / Beta Tank

Chandeliers might seem a strangely traditional filter for our relationship with modern technology, but the 15 new and updated designs from the Swarovski Crystal Palace on display integrate motors, lasers and LEDs, and are innovative and interactive at their core

The exhibit seeks to illustrate how our sense of history and our memories – stored, manipulated and shared as digital files – are redefined in the age of social media. And the decorative fixtures present an exploration of what’s possible in the 21st century.

Digital Crystal: Memory in the Digital Age continues until 13th January 2013 at the London Design Museum

Swarovski is famous for creating awe inspiring and beautiful objects. London’s Design Museum is famous for showcasing modern day wonders.

So when the opportunity arose to combine the two, Deyan Sudjic, the museum’s director, and Nadja Swarovski made the perfect partnership for a Swarovski-technology fusion.

Famous for showcasing exhibitions that encourage the viewer to look forward into modernity, the mixology of man-made and nature provide a refreshing view point as the viewer is confronted with the past.

The exhibition encapsulates both the imagination behind technology and the splendour of natural beauty. The perfect combination.

Nadja Swarovski comments: ‘It is an honour that the Design Museum has chosen to collaborate with Swarovski on this forward-thinking exhibition.

To work with such creative minds and to see how they have responded to the brief is fascinating and offers new insights into our changing relationship with memory and technology. Swarovski’s passionate commitment to cutting-edge contemporary design and innovation is driven by our work with these visionaries who push the boundaries of how crystal can be used as a creative ingredient.’

“Every time we work with a designer we learn so many more techniques, technologies, we’re pushing our boundaries and actually expanding our capabilities.”

Their responses range from Marcus Tremonto’s 3D holographic table (“Stunning and cutting edge. What a forward thinker he is,” says Nadja) to Maarten Baas’ simple structure of a person in a house (“What he is saying is that the digital age is stripping us of material possessions and that the only thing that’s left really is your thoughts”).

‘We wanted the exhibition to be an immersive experience,’ says Swarovski creative development director Suzanne Trocmé, who commissioned eight new pieces for the show.

For the last decade, Swarovski’s design and architecture collaborations, showcased in its Crystal Palace exhibitions, have been inviting leading designers to experiment with crystal in radical new ways, but this is the first time the collaborators have been given a brief.

Challenged to explore the notion of memory in a digital age – one in which physical objects are becoming ‘an endangered species’, says Design Museum director Deyan Sudjic – their multi-sensory offerings are unusually evocative.

As printed photographs, diaries and other traditional (and unalterable) methods of capturing thoughts and recording experiences become increasingly rare, “it seems all too easy to lose connection with the tangible and the real,” says Deyan Sudjic.

But it also creates an opportunity to introduce new, innovative ideas that reconnect us with our past.

Deyan Sudjic – Design Museum curator

Memory is closely linked to forgetting. Before the digital era, forgetting was easy, for better or worse. Not only is it biologically in-built to forget, the analogue world around us cannot guarantee that recorded memories will last forever.

Photographs fade, film footage can be lost and media out-dated. In the past, remembering was the exception, forgetting the default. Only a few decades ago, analogue photography was a limited edition of images taken of precious moments or the everyday: our grandparents, parents, children or ourselves. By selection, these images became meaningful, carrying the story for, and of, an extended period of time, a life, a person.

Now in the age of endless digital image reproduction there is no longer a function for a selection process, and so we do not need to forget. We externalise our memories by handing them over to the digital realm enabled through digitisation, inexpensive storage, ease of retrieval, global access, and increasingly powerful software, blurring lines of ownership and making virtual forgetting close to impossible.

Digital Crystal designers L-R Back Row: Deyan Sudjic Design Museum; Anton Alvarez; Ian Stallard, Fredrikson Stallard; Philippe Malouin; Hilda Hellstrom. Front Row L-R: Conny Freyer, Troika; Patrik Fredrikson, Fredrikson Stallard; Florian Ortkrass, Random International; Paul Cocksedge; Nadja Swarovski; Ron Arad

In addition to specially commissioned pieces by a new generation of designers, Digital Crystal: Swarovski at the Design Museum also features a select number of updated works from the Swarovski archives.

Some of the biggest names in contemporary design have used Swarovski crystal to explore how the future of memory will evolve in the rapidly developing digital age

Random International – Sunlight Video

Sunlight Video, a piece by Random International, begins the exhibition, leading visitors from the ground floor up into the main space by directing light through a Swarovski lens, and projecting images of film – in a recollection of analogue projection.

Their piece, Sunlight Video, shows a journey of light in a digital age.

Light is directed through a Swarovski lens to project ephemeral images of film which echo an analogue projection.

Sunlight Video reimagines the principle behind many ubiquitous digital displays.

Shining light through a set of crystals and colour filters, rAndom International create intriguing projected patterns. Just like the transient representations seen by a human eye, these images could be ephemeral, symbolising the nature of our own imagination and memories.

This is in stark contrast to the physicality of the custom Swarovski lenses required to make them.

This installation is the first prototype for a work that will eventually channel direct sunlight through thousands of shutters and lenses to display both motion graphics and film

Semi Conductor – Before You Surface

Semiconductor Sound and motion created an immersive entrance to the exhibition, placing the viewer at the heart of natural crystal formation.

Before you Surface, is an animation showing a mineral crystal growing and forming into another, changing colour and shape, at times moving frantically, at others slowly, leaving behind traces of previous growth.

An assault on both the eyes and the ears, this multi-coloured video work shows how crystals grow and combine in a computer-generated crystal cave.

The fantastical mineral crystals that appear, grow and combine in this computer-generated subterranean cave are built up from the very simplest of digital shapes.

Controlled by seismic data collected from recent earthquake activity around the world, their changing forms represent multiple time frames of geological events and processes, mirroring the entire evolution of our ever-shifting planet.

By studying the shape and structure of these raw molecular structures we can decode the memory of their making and deduce the conditions in which they grew.

Ron Arad – Lolita

Some speak about forgetting, such as Ron Arad’s ‘Lolita’ chandelier – first conceived for Swarovski Crystal Palace in 2004 and reworked for this exhibition.

Its 2000 or so Swarovski crystals are embedded with LEDs that allow visitors’ text messages and tweets to be momentarily emblazoned on its twisting form. ‘It’s the opposite of carving a wall with words,’ says Arad. ‘This is ephemeral.’

Ron Arad’s Lolita, designed for Swarovski Crystal Palace, keeps the recognizable spiralling form of an interior fixture, but replaces the light source with LEDs embedded into each prismatic chain. Together they display tweets and text messages directed to the work, turning the fixture into a functioning ticker board.

Hidden within its 2000 or so Swarovski crystals are more than 1000 white LEDs, enabling it to double as a giant interactive pixel board

To send Lolita your message, tweet #DigitalCrystal or text +44 (0)7860 021492.

Send Lolita a message and she’ll share your private thoughts with the world by displaying them on her spiral form.

Mmarcus Tremonto –  Holo Centre Table

Like a framed photograph on a mantelpiece, the three-dimensional holographic print at the centre of this table honours and shares a captured memory.

Although created using digital techniques, the print requires analogue inputs in order to be viewed.

Reminiscent of a sparkling crystal it only comes to life when illuminated, and its three-dimensional magic can only be appreciated by moving around the table.

Marcus Tremonto’s piece ultimately questions what lies between the 0s and 1s of binary code and whether – in theory – anything is truly digital.

‘Holo Centre Table’  displays a 3D holographic print at the centre of the table representing a captured memory. Reminiscent of a sparkling crystal it only comes to life when illuminated and its 3D magic can only be appreciated by walking around the table. It asks the question of whether in theory anything is truly digital and is a very deep and intriguing installation.

The hologram is similar to a photograph only more fragile and harder to maintain: non-tangible but real. Is this a precious moment in time or a future occurrence?

This cutting edge technology allows memories to be captured as 3D memory as they would exist in reality

Frederickson Stallard – Pandora

Pandora ( originally designed in 2007) re-imagines the traditional chandelier using sparkling spheres suspended from invisible lines.

This ever-changing, digitally-programmed installation repeatedly deconstructs and recreates the familiar form of a chandelier. Computer-controlled motors slowly throw the wires out of alignment, creating a chaotic cloud of refractive crystals before bringing them back to the familiar shape.

Fredrikson Stallard’s explosive piece ( almost 2,000 suspended crystals ) is more emotional than functional, delivering the unconventional spectacle of a chandelier without using a single shining light.

Yves Behar – Amplify

‘Amplify’ by Yves Behar ( commissioned in 2010) uses just one crystal, one low-energy LED light and one faceted paper shade to spark memories of a traditional large scale chandelier and gives the appearance of individual glowing crystals. Seeking maximum effect with the minimum amount of materials and energy makes it as sustainable as it is beautiful.

Each shape is crafted to maximise refraction within the shade, giving the appearance of individual glowing crystal. Each paper lantern contains a light source and a refracting crystal that projects unique patterns onto the inside of the pendant, hinting at what’s inside.

Amplify takes a single crystal amplified within a paper lantern to create a digital pattern, a repeated form, each one different from the next.

The result delivers multiple reflections and the rainbow colour-burst associated with a chandelier, all achieved through the amplification of a single cut stone

Maarten Baas – Thought Cloud

Considering a dystopian future full of virtual emotions and sensations only simulated within our brains, Thought Cloud reinvents the cosy image of ‘home sweet home’.

In this world, the smoke coming out of a chimney is not created by a warm burning fire, but from the thoughts and memories of a human head.

After all, if we no longer collect physical objects, we need only as much space as our body requires, along with a suitable route for our thoughts to escape.

In Maarten Baas’s dark scenario, the clear sparkling crystal is a source of hope and a symbol of fresh, active life

Maarten Baas’ response to the brief was to celebrate that one remaining response which cannot be digitized: the human thought.

His piece is a poetic interpretation of memory and thought.

Displayed in a house with a chimney from which a thought cloud appears, the results are a digital imprint of the human mind.

Troika – Hard Coded Memory

Troika’s piece Hard Coded Memory is a very direct interpretation of the themes explored in the exhibition.

Hard Coded Memory projects a photograph through a Swarovski lens to reproduce a blurred interpretation of an original photograph, a faded memory. Hardcoded Memory is a reflection on the moment and on time itself, standing as a metaphor for the human search for meaning and continuity, while celebrating forgetting in the digital age.

It considers the photograph, film and notebook in their analogue state and from this, the process by which photographs used to be shot, before only the best being selected for print, and everything else discarded.

The piece projects a photograph through a Swarovski lens to reproduce a blurred interpretation of an original photograph – as a faded memory.

The low-resolution portraits generated by Hardcoded Memory are a celebration of forgetting. When our only physical records of past experiences were printed photographs, notebooks and films we could only select a few memories to document and store. Many of these would naturally fade from view or become lost, along with our own blurred recollections. Today, however, technology makes virtual forgetting almost impossible

Hardcoded Memory uses an array of lenses to cast a low-resolution image onto the wall; each pixel corresponds to one lens, which is focused to a point-like beam or widened to a floodlight to generate areas of light and dark.

This complex mechanism, used to recreate ancient portraits, speaks to the difference between the era when exposing images on glass plates was more deliberate than today’s shoot-everything digital photography.

Hard Coded Memory takes the photograph, the film and the note book as its starting point: a time when these were the only records of memory. In the past, photographs were shot, then selected with only the best printed and recorded as precious moments.

The digital age has changed this. Today, the internet is our memory bank and the digital camera allows us to take endless images.

Hardcoded Memory projects four portrait photographs through over 850 custom-cut Swarovski optical lenses illuminated by white LEDs.

These are moved back and forth by a set of rotating cams, transforming the circular projections seen on the gallery wall. Information about the images is contained within the mechanism, through the individual shapes of the cams, setting a definite limit on the number of portraits that can be shown. These digital memories are therefore hard-coded into the display apparatus.

Low-resolution portraits are projected onto the gallery wall, generated by a hardcoded mechanical structure which in the nature of its construction limits the selection of available images.

Custom-cut Swarovski crystal optical lenses project light from LEDs, which, motored by rotating cams, move away from, and toward to each crystal lens, transforming, through diffraction, the white light into a constellation of circular projections, creating a rhythmical fading in, and fading out of low resolution imagery on the gallery wall.

All pictorial information is hardcoded into the rotating cams of the mechanism giving a pre-determined selection of what can be displayed by the projector. And while the low resolution image is lending the portraits a universal appeal, the body posture of the portrayed informs a definite era or decade.

Experiencing the dream-like imagery on the gallery wall, the visitor is immersed in a digital memory embedded into an analog physical object, reinforcing Troika’s agenda of exploring rational thought, observation and the changing nature of reality and human experience.

The three portraits were selected according to their postures, in a reference to the traditional posed portraiture that was prevalent throughout the last century but is seen less often today.

Paul Cocksedge – Crystallize

Paul Cocksedge’s Crystallize chandelier ( originally commissioned in 2005 ) uses a single crystal mounted on a tubular glass frame to channel a laser to create a unique ethereal effect. Rays of light cascade from each crystal in a trajectory of beams.

Crystallize departs from anything recognizable, with a frame-like structure made from tubular glass.The glass tubes convey laser light like a fibre optic cable, while mirrors direct the beams into suspended pendalogues that cast green light in all directions, like a futuristic disco ball.

By shooting 2mm-wide laser beams off a series of perfectly-aligned mirrors, Paul Cocksedge creates a set of classic diamond shapes, which float in mid-air.

Despite the mesmerising effect caused by focusing the lasers on Swarovski crystals at the centre of each diamond form, this chandelier is fundamentally an illusion.

At the flick of a switch the construction disappears, leaving only the central un-illuminated crystals hanging in the dark

Philippe Malouin – Blur

Philippe Malouin’s ‘Blur’ installation is a series of visual images – realised through light and motion – and speaks about “remembering”.

Malouin says the piece alludes to memory through the “transformation from its solid state to its accelerated state,” as it retains the memory of its simple underlying design while transforming it through movement. “It doesn’t always spin – it’s programmed to reveal its different states,” he adds.

Blur explores the idea of memory in an increasingly digital world.

This dynamic installation blurs boundaries between the physical nature of the crystals themselves and the intangible light patterns left behind as they race before our eyes. The images are temporary and dependent on the speed of which the crystals are spun.

Inspired by the Hedron Collider particle accelerator of the European Organization for Nuclear Research, Malouin spins multi-faceted Swarovski beads in circles at high speed.

Under the shine of LEDs, the coloured beads form abstract ‘light paintings’ of concentric coloured rings. The intensity of the prismatic patterns varies with the spin velocity.

The designer spins multi-faceted Swarovski crystal beads in circles at high speed, forming mesmerising abstract ‘light paintings’ of concentric coloured rings. Look away from these works and their intense prismatic patterns still swirl in your eyes.

Hye-Yeon Park – Unfamiliar Mass

Cut a cross-section through Hye-Yeon Park’s 30cm crystal ring and you’ll uncover the hidden and instantly familiar profile of a polar bear.

How, asks Park ( former Designer in Residence at the Design Museum ) can we possibly recall such an animal if we have never actually seen one?

By concealing the bear within an unrecognisable form, Unfamiliar Mass highlights the illusory nature of memories that are shaped only by our wishful imagination and impressions gleaned from two-dimensional visual media.

Without real experiences to refer to, our recollections within a digital world may become similarly fragmented and biased.

Park has produced a ring of crystal that pushes the material to its limits in terms of size.

Swarovski’s research and development team created the polar bear shape within the crystal, using digital data provided by Park

Anton Alvarez – Wrapping Crystal

2012 RCA graduate Alvarez presents his Wrapping Crystal, a spinning machine that spins exquisite Swarovski yarn embedded with crystals around objects, wrapping and binding them forever keeping them safe and secure.

Exploring our emotional connection with short-lived products, Anton Alvarez’s machine is designed so that its operator cannot know what they will make before they have completed the manufacturing process.

When spinning at high speed, the foot-operated contraption joins objects and crystals together by binding them tightly in thread and Swarovski crystal yarn.

The raw materials for each individual product are manipulated at the moment of creation, resulting in a series of improvised one-offs that capture the actions of the maker while reinterpreting the fundamental components of each end product.

To master the new craft of thread wrapping requires at least 10,000m of yarn

Hilda Hellstrom – The Monument

Swedish designer Hilda Hellström is taking a look at myth and narrative in her piece The Monument, a crystal and jesmonite object representing mythical symbolism, which accompanied by a minute long film tells the story of Swarovski’s headquarters in Wattens, Austria.

Hellström takes inspiration from the Dadaist and Romantic movements, which were both sceptical of reason in an irrational world. Like the Dadaists she incorporates elements of chance into her making processes, while also emphasising emotion above reason

A keen Google Earth traveller, Hilda Hellström created a fantastical record of her imagined story of local life after real and virtual trips to the company’s HQ.

She then transferred the digital topography of the Austrian mountains to a milling machine and carved its landscape from her own self-made stone.

The Monument is a physical tribute to Hellström’s ‘friends’ in the Tyrolean mountains, intended to celebrate and commemorate craft in the digital age.

Beta Tank

A commission by Beta Tank in the glass box outside the museum that is free to view day and night.

Half functional seat, half sculptural object, Beta Bench uses the blurring of the relationship between digital art and design as its starting point.

Using the shape and clarity of cut crystal, the bench is comprised of 135 objects, digitally-milled from translucent Plexiglas.

Eyal Burstein of Beta Tank was inspired by a court case where a digital art installation was classified as everyday electrical goods when disassembled for shipping and as a work of art when recombined in a gallery setting.

Arik Levy – Osmosis

Arik Levy’s immersive Osmosis Film, presents a moment of rapid prototyping.

Capturing the transition of particles from one place to another, the film engages with the physical real world which is in constant transition.

Crystal is in itself an evocative medium. ‘When you have a crystal, you always keep on moving it, because its kinetic light effect is so thrilling,’ says designer Arik Levy.

His ‘Osmosis Interactive Arena’ installation allows visitors to transform a digitally-generated crystal through their own movement, calling in to question how human actions are remembered by nature.

Enter Arik Levy’s interactive installation and your movements will transform the geometry, colour, texture and density of a digitally-generated crystal.

Like a master crystal cutter struggling to anticipate how their expertly-tooled stone will be viewed in random light conditions, the results of your actions are unpredictable.

Inspired by nature, and the process by which particles flow from one area to another to create a balanced environment, Osmosis Interactive Arena highlights our own unexpected impacts on the planet.

Its dynamic interpretation of digital memory forces us to question the consequences of our recent movements and learn from observing the responses and effects of others

Nadja Swarovski: Creative Expression

Digital crystal Swarovski at the design museum, London, is the latest exhibition that showcases the crystal producer’ s intimate relationship with emerging and established design talent. In an exclusive interview, Nadja Swarovski shares her thoughts on the value of pushing the boundaries of design.

“We’ve created a reputation so that young talent seeks us as well as we also seek young talent,” says Nadja Swarovski referring to the emerging names featured in Swarovski’s latest cutting edge design initiative.

“It makes Fredrikson Stallard seem incredibly established but when we first worked with them five years ago they were the young kids on the block.”

Positioning her family company – the world’s largest producer of crystal – as an incubator of cutting edge talent is just one of Nadja Swarovski’s accomplishments highlighted at the London exhibition.

Most impressive of all is the fact that Swarovski is so closely associated with contemporary design that is was invited to collaborate with the museum at all.

“I personally believe that creative expression is one of the most valuable gifts that all of us posses but few of us know to do it,” explains Nadja of why she steered the company into projects such as Swarovski Crystal Palace which each year invites designers to reinvent the chandelier for an exhibition at Milan’s Salone del Mobile

“It is designers who are sitting on the zeitgeist, who have the biggest sensitivity towards trends.”

“Quality. It’s not the monetary value that’s attached to something but the quality with which it has been created or of which it consists. Whether it’s the quality of the design, the quality of the material or the quality of the thought process that has been invested in something.”

Much more than what would be a brilliant marketing strategy, there is real value in Swarovski’s operations at the cutting edge of design.

“Anything we do in terms of this sort of exhibition I consider as haute couture which will eventually trickle down into a commercial product,” says Nadja. “It’s always a symbiotic situation. We are here to support the designers yet what they’re giving us in return is their vision and their creativity.”

Interview with Nadja Swarovski via Luxury Culture

Long before it became de rigueur for luxury brands to become involved in the design world, Swarovski was commissioning spectacular places – where did your relationship with cutting edge design begin?

I’m actually an art history buff and I come from the art world. I studied art, I worked at Sotheby’s and Gagosian gallery. Obviously there was always a curiosity about design. Eventually, when working with Swarovski, my vision was originally to reintroduce Swarovski into the world of fashion. But I needed someone to help me to Philip Treacy, Alexander McQueen, Julian MacDonald… We created a blueprint: seeing these designers using the product in a very cutting edge way and amazing it very relevant made me realize that it is the designers who are sitting on the zeitgeist, who have the biggest sensitivity towards trends and who will be the translators of a traditional brand into a modern brand. Of course, Swarovski is also in the jewelry industry and there we used the same equation: we worked with cutting edge jewelry designers to modernize the product. And then yet another category was the lighting and interior design arena where we worked with designers on the specific brief to reinvent the chandelier. This situation evolved by chance but eventually the various different industries started to associate Swarovski crystal truly as a creative ingredient within fashion, or jewelry or architecture.

You have become known for promoting young talent, How would you describe your relationship with new designers?

Incubator or catalyst. With Digital Crystal we’re working with a very young guard of product designers and architects like Philippe Malouin, Anton Alvarez, Troika Random International, Hilda Hellstrom. It makes Fredrikson Stallard seem incredibly established but when we first worked with them five years ago they were the young kids on the block. It’s amazing to see the evolution within each and every industry. I remember that Alexander McQueen was this very poor but cutting edge designer that no one had really heard of – things certainly have changed for him. We’re actually supporting Philip Treacy’s fashion show at London fashion Week this season. He hasn’t had a fashion show in ten years so it’s really great that he’s coming back on the scene very strong. It’s always a symbiotic situation. We are here to support the designers yet what they’re giving us in return is their vision and their creativity. We’ve created a reputation so that young seeks us as well as we do seek young talent.

You are renowned in the creative world for giving designers almost carte blanche in terms of artistic freedom – what do you think that achieves?

I personally believe that creative expression is one of the most valuable gifts that all of us possess but few of us know how to realize. Designers certainly know how to do that. For Swarovski it’s not about making the designer fit into our mould but about magnifying the personality and style of the designer which in my mind is supporting their creative expression. All the designers get the same brief depending on the project but the results are totally different one from another. We want to encourage that individualism because that again emphasizes that crystal is actually a creative ingredient in that designer’s work. But crystal doesn’t dictate their work. We’re just an enabler. That is a position that I like taking.

Swarovski’s commissions are at the heart of the design/art debate – where do you stand on that?

I think that border is becoming thinner and they’re merging. Of course, artists and designers would not think that same simply because the education is totally different and also the means for expression is different. Often, artists purely want to express themselves versus designers who purely want to create. And there’s slight difference in that. I find sometimes in art that it’s frustrated and expression, so sometimes the artwork one sees isn’t necessarily positive. Whereas the willingness to create is truly attached to the positive emotion because it’s about construction and creation so inherently it has a very positive connotation to it.

Architecture and design is clearly a personal passion but you are also renowned as a talented business woman – how do projects such as Digital Crystal inform your business?

As a business you have to be able to create a product that’s relevant to the consumer but that also means creating exhibitions that are relevant to our time. That’s why I picked the topic of how the digital era is impacting us. Also, anything we do in terms of this sort of how the digital era is impacting us. Also, anything we do in terms of this sort of exhibition I consider as haute couture which then eventually will trickle down into a commercial product. These haute couture exercises actually really challenge our development department. Every time we work with a designer we learn so many more techniques, technologies, we’re pushing our boundaries and actually expanding our capabilities. What we might have learnt in a project like Digital Crystal we then can implement in a very commercial product. The bottom line counts but between the vision and the bottom line there’s so much creativity that makes the bottom line happen.

What do you collect personally?

I have some Crystal Palace chandeliers by Tord Boontje. I’m very proud of them because I worked with Tord on them and I adore Tord. It’s nice to have a piece of a friend. I have a marble table which is inlaid with lapis lazuli. It is a limited edition, one of eight, I also have a Marc Quinn photograph my daughter’s eyeball for his eye series. She has blue eyes with a little speck of brown. It’s such a fascinating landscape that eyeball. Knowing marc and it being a personal commission makes it so much more fun. Then I have some photographs of Adam Fuss who is a New York-based photographer. I have photographs by him of my children as babies lying in a Petri dish. It’s modern art but it’s actually my children – portraiture of the 21st century! I have some Arik Levy rock coffee tables with brushed stainless steel. I have some Damien Hirst prints. I’m starting with the prints – you have to have goals! In my office I have a photograph by Mary McCartney of The Beatles crossing the zebra crossing. Then I have a little sketch by Monsieur Lacroix of a ballerina. We worked with him on a ballet in Paris last year. A little sketch by Zaha Hadid which I framed. I have a model by Marc Newson which is so beautiful I’ve displayed it as a kind of work of art. These kinds of things that are personal souvenirs then become my treasured artwork.

I have pieces by people that I know, that I care about and admire so much. I find their work projects so much joy and a very positive vibe of creativity.

About the Design Museum

Founded in 1989 the Design Museum is currently located in Shad Thames, South East London, its work encompasses all elements of design, including product design, architecture, graphic design, and fashion.

The Design Museum plans to relocate from its current location to the former Commonwealth Institute building, in Kensington, West London. The project is expected to be completed by 2014.

Leading designer John Pawson will convert the interior of the Commonwealth Institute building to create a new home for the Design Museum, giving it three times more space in which to show a wider range of exhibitions, showcase its world class collection and extend its learning program.

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