British set designer Simon Costin creates an enchanting fairy-tale magical landscape at Swarovski Kristallwelten
At Swarovski Crystal World in Wattens, the well-known British set designer Simon Costin will turn the garden around the Giant into a symbol of paradise between July 1 and August 31, as part of the 2018 Summer Festival. With colourful, floral, artistic interventions and numerous interactive attractions, he creates an exciting arch of stories for the visitor – an enchanting fairy-tale landscape that in some places can also be interpreted as a world out of joint.
Philosophers of all eras have dedicated numerous writings to gardens and considered the symbolically charged, blooming open spaces as metaphors for paradise. For Simon Costin, who has worked with many fashion greats throughout his career, gardens are one thing above all, too: magical places. The British designer found inspiration for the Enchanted Garden at Swarovski Kristallwelten (Swarovski Crystal Worlds) above all in Dutch still life paintings. In the context of the sparkling Swarovski crystals, Costin finds both surprising and unusual possibilities to put the world and all its wonders in a magical light. “When I close my eyes, I see hundreds of different shades of color; the beauty of plants and flowers is a lavish feast for the senses. And gardens give people the chance to collect themselves and dream a little,” says the artist, outlining the idea behind his artistic concept.
“For Swarovski Crystal Worlds, the collaboration with Simon Costin is also exciting because we are convinced that his artistic visions will not only enchant the garden of the Giant, but also the visitors. Through this creative process, attractions have been developed that invite guests to enjoy moments of wonder and to play,” says Stefan Isser, managing director of D. Swarovski Tourism Services GmbH. Carla Rumler, cultural director Swarovski, added, “Simon Costin stands for fantastic backdrops that fascinate creative people worldwide. He has worked for the best-known fashion brands and developed fashion shows with Alexander McQueen, which are anchored in the collective memory of the fashion world. With his talent he will make this summer at Swarovski Crystal Worlds a truly memorable one.”
This paradise, out of joint and reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland, tells the explorer unconventional garden stories that offer both children and adults alike interactive experiences. The outside turns to the inside when visitors are guided right from the start across the flower corridor into the enchanted garden world and, in a Flower Pavilion with curious and amusing floral photo spots, are encouraged to – according to Costin – “experience the garden as a child.” Outside, the British artist concludes the adventure by spanning a wide arch of decorative flower patterns, mysteriously enchanted to provocative: Visitors find miniature greenhouses they can walk into and discover a larger-than-life giant gnome named Oberon in the center of the maze, along with many small garden gnomes.
Visitors will also come across previously unfamiliar things inside the Giant – oversized flower arrangements as well as romantically transfigured costume creations reminiscent of Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream. Costin explicitly refers to stories that tell of the relationship between women and flowers. For example, a Welsh legend tells of a girl who was created completely from blossoms, and in Metamorphosis by the antique poet Ovid, Daphne turns into a beautiful laurel tree. On their tour through the Enchanted Garden, experimental guests can also be photographed with floral arrangements on their head and create the sound of plants through interaction with the Flower Orchestra.
On the tour, the garden stroller also encounters a Wishing Tree, which is hung with the personal wishes of the visitors over the course of the summer and thus “blossoms.” Every 15 minutes the Mirror Pool under the Crystal Cloud is brought to life, entertaining guests with its water shows. Not only can visitors enjoy the enchantment of the garden at extended opening hours until 22:00 in the summer, the garden also has a culinary and cultural aspect: With lovingly arranged picnic baskets enchanting hours in the garden are guaranteed, between violet ice cream and flower hot dogs, and the open-air cinema at the Giant (August 1 to 31) also beckons with two films daily about the theme of the summer.