Swarovski teamed up with Rem Koolhass, founder of Dutch practice OMA, to realize Luminaire, a dramatic light installation for the 14th International Architecture Exhibition of the Venice Biennale. The site specific-installation surrounds the entrance to Monditalia, one of three exhibitions that make up the distinguished Dutch architect’s ambitious presentation of this year’s Venice Architecture Biennale.
The majestic structure, resembling a grand stage set, measures 6 metres in height by 20 metres in length and is made up of thousands of vibrantly coloured glass light bulbs and 15kg of Swarovski Crystal Rocks, all set on an elaborate wooden framework. Together the crystal and light highlight the traditional Venetian archways, evoking the elaborate Renaissance façades of Venice’s palazzos.
Luminaire also references the grand-scale urban lighting installations that are an integral part of Italian culture, often associated with celebrations and religious feasts, even forming a centrepiece in several of Federico Fellini’s films.
Constructed in a traditional workshop in Puglia by a family-run business with generations of manufacturing experience, Luminaire is a gateway into a very different Biennale, one where the established order of contemporary architecture is investigated, upturned and chronicled, with art, science and entertainment coming together to decipher the legacy of a century of Modernism.
The 14th International Architecture Exhibition of la Biennale di Venezia runs from June 7 to November 23, 2014.
all images © GILBERT McCARRAGHER