Furnishings: Sculptures of Light

<< Back to Robb Report, November 2002
  • Jan Roberts

“Crystal is one of the truest materials in architectural decor because of its reflection of light, and light is a reflection of life,” says Rosemarie Le Gallais, the driving force behind the newly launched Daniel Swarovski Home Accessories collection, a line of 12 pieces for the home and office.

After 15 years of working in Paris with Karl Lagerfeld, Le Gallais decided to radically change the use of accessories in fashion and lifestyle. “I sensed in the late 1980s that an important change in lifestyle and fashion was coming, and that fashion would become easier and more comfortable, making accessories more important,” she says.

At the time, Swarovski was the leading supplier of fine cut crystal (the Swiss firm invented the first crystal-cutting machine in the world) to all the major fashion houses, and the firm was looking to create a luxury line that would bring a modern and innovative interpretation to crystal accessories. In Le Gallais the company found a creative spirit whose vision matched its own. “I wanted to revolutionize the use of crystal, mixing it with unexpected materials and making it as flexible as possible,” she explains.

Le Gallais launched Daniel Swarovski Paris in 1989 with a fashion line (handbags, belts, gloves, and jewelry). A crystal eyewear collection followed in 1997, and then she decided it was time to explore another facet in the company’s lifestyle concept: home and desk accessories.

Enter Darko Mladenovic. A Paris-born Yugoslav with a passion for astrology, airplanes, and art, Darko’s childhood was dominated by constant relocation, thanks to a father in the diplomatic service. Although that included stints in Paris, Yugoslavia, and Marseilles, it was the time he spent in Senegal from ages 10 to 12 that became one of the main inspirations for his work. “It was the first time I had lived among so many different and contrasting cultures, and it gave me an understanding of the richness and diversity of the world and the possibility that opposites could peacefully coexist,” Darko says. “That’s why I chose cherrywood for the accessories collection. For me, it symbolizes that opposing elements can be combined in stunning harmony.”

His philosophy, in turn, impressed Le Gallais. Each piece—lamp, vase, candleholder, bowl, pen, inkwell—has been created as a celebration of both the complexity and simplicity of nature, from the Swan lamp, whose question mark shape represents the eternal search for the meaning of life,  to the limited edition Ray objet d’art, a block of crystal that represents rays of light when the sun rises. The Krystallos pen, developed in collaboration with Caran d’Ache, is an elegant cylinder that is part crystal, part sterling silver; the facets of the curved Balance inkwell allow it to rock without spilling over.

“Crystal is both a collector and distributor of light,” Darko says. “It transforms light from the invisible to the visible. Each object seems to capture the sun’s rays and then reveals them in the splendor of their full color.” 

Swarovski, 888.207.9873, www.swarovski.com

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