Swarovski Kristallwelten (Swarovski Crystal Worlds) is one of Austria’s most sought after touristic attractions, receiving over 600 000 visits every year. To commemorate the 120th anniversary of the Austrian company, Snøhetta has been commissioned to take part in an expansion of the Kristallwelten, leading up to the grand re-opening on April 30.
Three architectural firms, including CAO PERROT, s_o_s architekten, and Snøhetta have worked on this project, having, according to Carla Rumler, Cultural Director at Swarovski, crafted a “design and formal language of truly poetic tenor, which will mesmerize our visitors when it opens on April 30, 2015. The forces behind this international network of creative talents have engaged in a dialog with the uniqueness of this location. The rich abundance of facets that embody the Swarovski brand is reflected by the architecture of the new Swarovski Crystal Worlds“
Snøhetta have designed three main elements to this expansion; a play tower and adjacent playground, a shop entrance, and a café and restaurant area. The 20-meter high play tower hosts a wide range of playing experiences for children, distributed on four vertically arranged levels. These experiences range from trampolines to a 14 meter high climbing net.
On the outside, the playground attempts to provide children not only with well-known means for playing, but also with new ways to engage in new games and forms of movement.
The restaurant and bar area is this curvy concrete structure. According to the architects, “The café and restaurant area is formed as a pavilion that is embedded into the garden – organically shaped concrete structure framing the views into the surrounding landscape. Gently swinging pillars and ceilings accentuate the impression of form and light. The bright surfaces and the material, set with Swarovski Crystals, produce an effect that is beyond compare.”
Finally, the third part of Snohetta’s contribution for the Kristallwelten is a shop entrance; a corridor, lined on the outside with what appears to be a copper like material, and holding on the inside an exciting configuration of lights, a tunnel-like space and sound installations, which make this space quite experimental in its attempt to provide the user with a unique experience.
By: Daniel Anthony Fraga