SWAROVSKI CELEBRATES LONDON DESIGN FESTIVAL WITH NEW INSTALLATION BY KIM THOMÉ AT THE V&A
London, July 23, 2015 – London-based designer Kim Thomé has collaborated with Swarovski on Zotem, an 18-meter-tall double-sided monolith embedded with more than 600 bespoke Swarovski crystals. Zotem, a landmark project for the London Design Festival September 19 – 27, is set to be unveiled at the V&A on September 15.
Featuring a colorful blend of light and movement, Zotem will occupy a central space in the Museum, rising vertically from the Grand Entrance up to the Contemporary Ceramics gallery, on the sixth floor and will be in place from September 15 through to October 31 this year. Making use of the high atrium that connects the Grand Entrance with the Ceramics Galleries, Zotem creates a visual link between the two spaces, prompting visitors to explore the building’s interior architecture in a new way.
Zotem is a dynamic piece, designed to draw visitors’ eyes upwards. Rising and falling through the floors, prismatic colors and linear patterns are reflected and refracted by Swarovski crystal to create an entrancing visual illusion. The installation comprises custom-made Swarovski crystals scaled up to 2.5 times their regular size and displayed in a grid pattern within a frame of matte black aluminium.
A roll of vividly printed mesh runs in a continuous loop inside the two aluminium faces – moving up one side and down the other. As light shines through the graphic mesh and the crystals, the pattern and colour is projected and distorted, creating a dynamic effect that brings the crystals to life.
The title, Zotem is a word-blending of the sounds and meanings of ‘totem’ and ‘zoetrope’ – a 19th century animation device that pre-dates film and gives the illusion of motion by displaying a sequence of isolated drawings that appear to move as they flick past the eye in quick succession. The looping mechanism of Zotem, which is visible through the open sides of the structure, also references the traditional animation device.
Nadja Swarovski, member of the Swarovski Executive Board, commented: “Swarovski is delighted to continue its support of the London Design Festival, collaborating withemerging, London-based designer Kim Thomé to create an installation at the V&A. Zotem reveals the interplay between light, color, and the experimentation with our crystal – this high-rising structure is the perfect way to celebrate the capital’s growing design talent”.
Kim Thomé commented: “I was inspired to create a piece which really fills the magnificent space within the V&A, helps visitors to climb upwards and explore the Museum, and celebrates the colors and mystery created by these giant cut crystals. My visit to Swarovski’s Kristallwelten gave me the confidence to play with scale, and the creative and technical collaboration with their engineers allowed me to create these amazing crystals especially for this project. I love the way it looks digital, but is actually a giant visual illusion”.
Norwegian-born Thomé is one of the city’s most exciting emerging design talents. This is the first time he has worked with the crystal company, having been introduced to Swarovski by one of the brand’s long-standing creative collaborators, designer Tord Boontje.
The project represents the latest step in the company’s continued support for London Design Festival, which runs September 19-27. Swarovski has previously contributed to the fair program with commissions by influential designers and architects including: John Pawson, Amanda Levete, Faye Toogood, Frith Kerr, Ilse Crawford, Marc Newson, Michael Anastassiades, Nick Knight, Paul Cocksedge, Ron Arad, Ross Lovegrove, Stephen Webster, Stuart Haygarth, Tom Dixon, Tord Boontje, amongst many others. Swarovski also collaborates with the festival on the British Land Celebration of Design with category support of the Emerging Talent Medal, recognizing individuals who have made an impact on the London design scene. The Swarovski Emerging Talent Medal was presented to designer Roland Lamb in 2014 and Daniel Rybakken in 2013.