Name: Swarovski Crystal Palace
Designer: Asif Khan
Location: Miami, Florida
Sometimes when you look up, you will catch a glimpse of an atmospheric optical phenomena called a halo. This results when the Sun or Moon shines through thin clouds composed of ice crystals. These phenomena may be due to the refraction of light that passes through the crystals, the reflection of light from the crystal faces, or a combination of both effects. These refraction effects give rise to color separation because of the bending of the different colors composing the incident light as it passes through the crystals.
Swarovski commissioned designer Asif Khan to create a large scale “palace” for the Design Miami 2012 festival. Khan collaborated with Manchester University in the United Kingdom in order to better understand the formation of the halo optical phenomenon, and how he could create the first indoor version using Swarovski crystals instead of ice.
The palace takes the traditional shape of a green house and rises to 20 feet high. It has a metal framework that houses walls with a honeycomb structure. More than 1.3 million Swarovski crystals comprise the honeycomb structure. The arrangement lines these crystals so that the light is reflected into massive circles of brilliant light. As visitors walk into the interior of the palace, the display changes dynamically depending on the angle of view. This structure provides a convenient glimpse of what the northern light’s ice halos may look like.
Khan states “I was first inspired by the atmospheric and optical properties of the sky in northern latitudes and with the idea of transporting its light to a contrasting environment. this installation is about exploring the use of crystal as a medium to infuse architecture with light.”
The result is a ground-breaking architectural experience that will allow the visitor to experience a natural phenomenon that would otherwise never been seen in Florida. Well done Khan, well done.