Romance at Swarovski Crystal Worlds
ince it opened its doors in 1995, Swarovski Crystal Worlds has welcomed over 14 million visitors. When a couple from Sao Paulo (Brazil) crossed that numerical boundary, they were surprised with an invitation to be the special guests of visual artist André Heller, designer of the dreamy, shimmering crystal museum. It’s no coincidence that it was a couple; the magical world of Swarovski is one of the most romantic attractions for visitors to North Tyrol.
Swarovski Crystal Worlds came about in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the famous company. In 1895, Daniel Swarovski, a jeweller from Bohemia, founded the company after settling in the Austrian Alps. And although he would never see it, a crystal world took shape a century later among gardens, a green giant and 16 Chambers of Wonder in Wattens, just 20 kilometres outside Innsbruck. Crystals become pieces of art in Heller’s hands — inspired by childhood dreams, he created a story about a giant who later became the centrepiece of Swarovski Crystal Worlds. The giant travelled the world, seeking treasures and wonders until he reached Wattens. There he stayed, to watch over the 16 Chambers of Wonder.
Sparkling in Innsbruck, too
Inside a beautiful building in Innsbruck’s old town, near the Golden Roof, Swarovski has one of its most emblematic shops. It has a space for artistic installations and a bar decorated with satellite photographs of big cities.
Heller’s idea is based on the historical chamber of wonders at Ambras Castle, a project intended to gather a collection of all universal knowledge up to the 16th century. Not all universal art fits into the chambers of Swarovski Crystal Worlds, but they house a good representation of it. Luminary artists, designers and architects with their own unique ways to sculpt crystal and give it new life, have a space in this corner of the Alps.
Among the most special pieces under the watchful eye of the Giant is the largest hand-cut crystal in the world. The 310,000-carat stone weighs a whopping 62 kilos. Outside, the garden sprawls over 7.5 hectares, following renovation and expansion in 2015 for its 20th anniversary. The most dazzling display in the garden is the Crystal Cloud, with more than 80,000 hand-mounted crystals. The work of Andy Cao and Xavier Perrot achieved the desired effect: the clouds float over a 1,400-square metre mirror pool.
One of the best times of year to visit the crystal cloud and mirror pool is between January and February, during the Festival of Light. Spring brings another opportunity with the Music in the Giant Festival, which draws top musicians from all over the world to Swarovski Crystal Worlds. The 15th festival will be held from May 24 to 27.
Swarovski Crystal Worlds also has a souvenir shop with an extensive selection of products. With its design and installations like the City of Glass, you might think it were another Chamber of Wonders…but there is a difference: here you can find a ring to guarantee an “I do.”