Heaven is a Place on Earth
During the day, rays of sun and passing clouds toy with the new space, creating a continual metamorphosis. Depending on how the sunlight meets the curtain and on the visual angle, the curtain emerges either as a dazzling, sparkling veil or vanishes completely from the eye. The incessant transformation of the curtain at daytime triggered by the sun and the clouds is emulated at nightfall by luminaria.
UNIQUE PROPERTIES / PROJECT DESCRIPTION:
This sophisticated and fantastic veil has been completed in 2008 for the Swarovski works in Wattens, Austria. The Veil transforms the Swarovskistraße in a bright boulevard of constant magical change. The new pathway marked by the billowing veiled curtain becomes a new place of poetic play, of light and shade, of an iridescent dalliance of colors and of amazingly magical moments of expression and transformation.
OPERATION / FLOW / INTERACTION:
The elements of curtain, landscape and illumination merge with the grove of silver limes to produce a seemingly metaphysical space. The corporate grounds are cloaked in a transparent veil that acts as a landmark. Instead of theme-park style defile of trees, bushes, florets, granite surfaces, zebra crossings and traffic signs, a new world unfolds in which everything is intermingled. The knitted curtain mesh, the graceful ground, the seating elements and the grid of light pads, it is the minimalist geometrical arrangement that emulates a circle which defines this space.
PROJECT DURATION AND LOCATION:
The project was finished in 2008 for the Swarovski works in Wattens, Austria.
FITS BEST INTO CATEGORY:
Lighting Products and Lighting Projects Design
PRODUCTION / REALIZATION TECHNOLOGY:
The particular attraction of the curtain lies in the gentle reflection of the material. Known in Medieval times as the chain armor of knights, this is the first time a metal weave is being used architecturally for an outdoor project. Consisting of around 26,250,000 separate interlocked links, it was currently the world’s largest single surface made of metal ring mesh. The panels measuring 4.80 meters in width were assembled on site into a whole. The aim was to realize a metal curtain for outdoors with all the visual, haptic and textile properties: soft as steel, yet very sturdy.
SPECIFICATIONS / TECHNICAL PROPERTIES:
The veil is made of a corrosion- and weather-resistant stainless steel mesh. It gives rise to a varied play of light and embodies a never-before seen materialness, held in place by a 10-meter high steel stringer. The design of the support structure equally follows aesthetic demands. The curtain’s transparency is borne by almost sculptural statics which in spite of the added outdoor requirements exude a sophisticated appeal. The dimensions, 250 meters in length and 10 meters in height, make this a complex support structure.
Landscape, Installation, Wattens, Swarovskistrasse, Veil
The curtain’s expansive size exposes it to major stress from wind and ice. The choice was made in favor of a ring mesh. It fulfills the static as well as visual requirements. Since the mesh is used for the first time worldwide for a support structure, comprehensive tests were required in advance. Calculations for the sweeping steel support structure were created by means of a three- dimensional FE model. The geometrical data originated directly from CAD technology. The loading conditions to be taken into consideration included temperature, wind and ice.
Particular attention had to be given to engineering the section details. Especially the hinged profiles to the upper and lower edge of the mesh called for an intensive development process. The profiles had to meet static requirements, be easy to assemble and, once completed, run seamlessly. To verify the plans, the calculations as well as the assembly technologies, a mock-up of a complete partial segment was created. The mesh is not harnessed, but is stretch-formed to forestall the malleable elongation that arose after being fitted, which was determined during the tests. The bottom is attached to the ground with tie rods.
TEAM MEMBERS (4) :
Projectmanagement: Baubüro Swarovski, Support structure: Werner Sobek Ingenieure GmbH, Landscape Architect: WKM Weber Klein Maas Landschaftsarchitekten and Lighting: FOUR TO ONE. scale design
Image #1: Photographer Holger Knauf, Swarovski veil by night, 2008
Image #2: Photographer Thomas Schüpping, Light illumination by night, 2008
Image #3: Photographer Thomas Schüpping, Light illumination by night, 2008
Image #4: Photographer Holger Knauf, Kederprofiles at the top, 2008
Image #5: Photographer Thomas Schüpping, Light illumination by night, 2008