Day 3: Swarovski Crystal Museum (Austria)

Who hasn’t heard about THE Swarovski? Well, I recently found out that there is one person, my husband, who hasn’t heard of the Swarovski’s nor did he know what it was. For those who don’t know or are pretending not to know, Swarovski is the world’s leading manufacturer of precision-cut crystal. It is renowned worldwide for manufacturing crystal products of precision in many different forms, sizes, and shapes, with attention to detail. Their crystal products are the best in cutting, clarity, and brilliance!!

Well, we all, especially the ladies were excited to go to the Swarovski Museum. I am sure the men (read spouses and fathers) were equally concerned. I had gathered some information about the museum and so read about it on the ride to the museum. the drive was really wonderful, watching the scenic beauty and the snow clad mountains.

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History:

Swarovski was founded by Daniel Swarovski in the Austrian village of Wattens in 1895. Today, more than 110 years later, it remains a family-run enterprise under the management of fourth and fifth-generation descendants of Daniel Swarovski.

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The Swarovski Crystal range includes crystal glass sculptures, miniatures, jewelry and couture, home decor, and chandeliers. The original Swarovski logo was an edelweiss flower. The current swan logo was adapted in 1988.

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The Museum (Crystal Worlds)

The company runs a crystal-themed museum, Swarovski Kristallwelten (Crystal Worlds) at its original site (Wattens near Innsbruck, Tyrol, Austria). In 1995, for the 100 year anniversary of Swarovski, the multi-media artist Andre Heller created an amazing place with 14 Chambers of Wonder.

The museum is situated in the body of an enormous giant and Archaic figure from the Tyrollean mythology. For Swarovski Crystal Worlds, the multimedia artist André Heller designed 14 underground Chambers of Wonder dedicated to the versatile artistic interpretation of the material crystal.

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More chambers were added later! Bathroom facilities are also worth a visit—it is equally spectacular with a WOW effect. Truly, stepping inside Swarovski is like stepping inside a magical crystal world.

  • Daily from 9:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
  • Last entry at 5.30 p.m.
  • Closed: November 4 to November 15, 2013

Chambers in the museum

The museum took us into a fairy-tale world. The museum is comprised of a series of rooms/sections called chambers, each with its own theme. As we walked from one chambers to another, seeing exhibit after exhibit, we were thoroughly in awe. It is truly a combination of creativity, art, design, innovation, and CRYSTALS.

Chambers in the museum

The museum took us into a fairy-tale world. The museum is comprised of a series of rooms/sections called chambers, each with its own theme. As we walked from one chambers to another, seeing exhibit after exhibit, we were thoroughly in awe. It is truly a combination of creativity, art, design, innovation, and CRYSTALS.

  1. Entrance Hall: The entrance hall at the Crystal Worlds welcomes you to a unique expedition. We were at first upset by the darkness, but as we got used to it, we realized that the darkness emphasized on the lighting of crystals. In the semi-darkness, we encounter glittering crystal works of art by well-known artists. This camber was designed by André Heller as a symbiosis of art and crystal. I remember a few things from this place:
    •  Centenary, the world’s largest ever manufactured crystal is displayed in the middle of the hall. It weighs a massive 300,000 carats. It has a diameter of 40 cm and features 100 hand-polished facets to symbolize 100 years of Swarovski.
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    • You also get to see the smallest crystal in the world. This tiny crystal has a diameter of only 0.8 mm and has a cross-section with 17 facets. You can see and admire the largest crystal, but it is not possible to take a photo of the smallest as you have to look through a special magnifying tool.
    • Above our heads, hung a huge and marvellous chandelier, resembling a breathing jellyfish that changes its color. The chandelier weighs more than 500 kilograms.
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    • Black Stallion is the replica Chetak, the historical brave horse of Maharaja Pratap. It is decorated with beautiful crystals. Daniel Swarovski Paris, was given the exclusive rights to recreate the precious horse jewel out of Swarovski crystals.
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    • The Crystal Wall is the longest of its kind in the world and winds like a spinal column right through the  Giant. Millions of precision-cut crystals sparkle from behind the 11 metre high and 42 metre long transparent wall.
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    • The “Crystal bearing Nana” by Niki de Saint Phalle embodies a self-confident, happy and liberated woman who lifts her arm in a defiant gesture. She holds a multi-coloured lustrous crystal in the palm of her hand, which she appears to have grown up with. The crystal in the woman’s hand can be considered as a symbol of felicity. The Nana also carries a phallus, evoking ironic discussion about the eternal interrelation of the sexes.
  2. Mechanical Theatre: The Whitings Mechanical Theatre of of Jim Whiting resembles a mechanical fashion show. The rigid things suddenly spring to life and clothes fly and dance through the air as if by magic. There were garments (covered in crystals) circling the room, mechanical mannequins walking, and more.
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  3. Crystal Dome: This dome is a creation by André Heller and Susanne Schmögner. The Crystal Dome offers a kaleidoscope rich with colours.  With 590 mirrors covering its walls, light is reflected in all facets. This breathtaking spectacle is stylishly accentuated with music by Brian Eno.
  4. Winter´s Dream
  5. Crystaloscope: The crystaloscope is the biggest kaleidoscope of crystals in the world. The installation, designed by André Heller and therapist Peter Mandl. It casts variations of images that appear from the ever emerging crystal formations.
  6. Crystal Theatre: Created by Susanne SchmÖgner, it is a stage of fantasy. It is a crystalline fairy-tale world full of colour and mystery.
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  7. Crystal Calligraphy: The desire to overcome all language barriers led to the conception of the crystal calligraphy. The verse on the wall of this Chamber is from the poem “The Wine of Lovers” by Charles Baudelaire. The chamber os bathed in blue-green light, by American glass artist, Paul Seide.
  8. Ice Passage: The Ice passage is created by Oliver Irschitz. The mystical passage reveals a very special force of attraction. Each step through the dark room becomes part of the design process. As soon as you set foot on unknown terrain, the icy, glittering world changes its face and reveals its secrets. You become both researcher and explorer. A light follows your each every movement and provides specific insights into a glistening world.
  9. The Giant´s Belongings: Created by André Heller, it tells the story of how the Giant lived before he settled down in Wattens. Some of his precious belongings and, of course, the gigantic little things he took with him on his travels provide information about his past.
  10. La Primadonna Assoluta: It shows two Solitaires in harmony. Against the brilliance of thousands of Swarovski crystals, well-known soprano Jessye Norman celebrated a spectacular performance in the Crystal Dome.
  11. 55 Million Crystals: Here, the world-renowned musician and conceptual artist, Brian Eno, presents a unique artwork. Ambient music, lighting, hand-painted image components and the latest computer technology merge to form a grandiose moving object. According to Brian Eno himself, “I would like to describe my work as music for the eyes, as painting in time, as an experience of the fourth dimension.”
  12. Reflections: Upon entering the Chamber of Wonder “Reflections”, you are immersed in a whirlpool of knowledge. So you can call it the Crystalline World History. Presented on the facets of 48 polygons, the entire world of crystal is documented in the form of pictures, graphics, illustrations and animated films: its origins, fascination and significance for science.
  13. Crystal Forest: Italian video artist, Fabrizio Plessi, gives the chamber a very special touch with a video installation. Plessi´s work unites contrasts from nature and technology —a unique composition made from natural and artificial elements and dedicated to the themes of fire, water and crystal.
  14. Timeless Swarovski: It takes us on a fascinating journey through the history of the Swarovski family. Here we gain interesting insights into the world of jewellery, objects, art and everyday objects. Feel the spirit and fascination of the Swarovski brand up close. The success story of Swarovski is primarily a tale about people with the courage and creativity to turn their visionary ideas into reality.
  15. Design in design: This is undoubtedly the biggest Swarovski shop in the world. It creats an illusion of journey through day and night created by interior architects and designers of Conran & Partners. When wandering around the shop, you will exerience the multifaceted atmospheric pictures of night turning into day and hence you will be guided by the different moods between light and darkness.
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Purchase:

If you plan to make some purchases, here is some information:

  • All prices are listed in euro and include 20 percent value added tax.
  • Payment is accepted in all the common forms: common currencies, credit/debit cards, and as travellers checks.
  • Citizens of non-EU states receive tax-free shopping forms for all purchases over 75 euros. So remember to collect your forms from the cash register. Get the forms stamped by the customs authorities before you leave the EU.

After the tour, when we reached the Swarovski shop “design in design”, I found that my husband had disappeared very conveniently. My daughter and I spend some time looking around and admiring the display. Yes, we just window shopped till we received a call from my husband saying that he is waiting for us outside 🙂

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After spending the morning at the museum, we planned to spend the rest of the day at Innsbruck, the capital of Tyrol. But that was only after having lunch at the Sahib Indian Restaurant!! 🙂

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