Glacial Beauty

Raw crystal chandeliers that appear like glistening ice hards and celestial starbursts form the main act of a new collection, from design duo FREDRIKSON STALLARD.
Fredrikson Stallard
Patrik Fredrikson (left) and Ian Stallard in their London studio with chandeliers Avalon (foreground) and Voltaire (background)

Avalon, Helios, Superline, Voltaire – the names of the chandeliers transport you to an otherworldly place, sounding at once heroic and romantic. To view the chandeliers in the flesh will stimulate your senses as well as your imagination. “Crystal has its own inherent qualities, such as reflection, refraction and internal depth,” say the boyishly good-looking furniture- and product-design duo Patrik Fredrikson and Ian Stallard, who ply their craft from a studio in Clerkenwell, London. “These elements must be allowed to come alive, just as much as we would allow wood, bronze or any other metal to tell the audience their specific story.”

The Glaciarium collection, which includes four chandeliers, chandelier components and home decor objects, and is a collaboration with Swarovski, captures the many contradictions inherent in Fredrikson Stallard’s avant-garde aesthetic. These glacial beings appear at once still and in flux, frozen yet alive, fresh yet polished, and each one an individual yet also part of a homogeneous whole. Emotionally engaging, the pieces bring the raw material to the fore, allowing crystal to be “the heart and soul,” say Fredrikson and Stallard, who are partners in life as well as business. “If you remove the crystal, the piece dies.” As such, the shimmering effect of multiple crystal shards in the chandeliers, whether in a geometric line or a sun-like halo, brings out their most alluring quality – refracting light.

The works, indisputably, are a triumph of inventiveness. Indeed, Swedish-born Fredrikson and British-born Stallard, who both trained at Central Saint Martins in London and began collaborating in 1995, are pioneers. They have been partnering up with Swarovski for a decade, and are known to tap new ideas, explore the liminal space between form and function, the raw versus the refined, the organic and the finely crafted, honing original techniques to marvelous effect.

Glaciarium was launched at last year’s Salone del Mobile in Milan as part of Atelier Swarovski Home, a new line of home decor. Fredrikson Stallard’s collection included crystal candlesticks, vases and bowls. With their irregular shapes and astonishing translucency, the pieces could easily pass for naturally formed shards of glistening ice. The spectacular chandeliers and components, which debuted later in 2016, are the main act of Glaciarium, and will next be on display at the international lighting exhibition Euroluce in Milan.


“The complete creative freedom we have when working with Swarovski means that we, as artists and designers, can create work that pushes forward, both technically and conceptually,” say the pair. “Materials must be allowed to express their own qualities without too much interference. For Glaciarium we worked with raw crystal formations from Swarovski’s furnaces and scanned them in 3D. We then developed this language into the new collection of components that will allow other architects, artists and designers to realize their visions. We simply created the words that will allow others to write their poems.”

Words Anna Wallace-Thompson
Portrait Mark Cocksedge
As seen in SALT February 2017