Spanish designer Jaime Hayon brings his playful touch to a fantasy carousel complete with 15 million Swarovski crystals
A regular collaborator with Fritz Hansen, Jaime Hayon never tires of employing animals as the theme in his creations, which have an air of childlike innocence. Take his Archisculptures exhibition last year in Hong Kong where he turned the Ocean Terminal foreground into a playground of fantasy. The artist-designer has recently completed his second collaboration with Swarovski – a striking carousel featuring fantasy animal characters and whimsical faces, known simply as Carousel.
The interactive installation is the latest addition to the Swarovski Kristallwelten (Crystal Worlds) in Wattens, Austria. Set against a dramatic background of mountains, the monochrome interpretation is nothing short of imaginative playfulness, with the traditional carousel striking a note of nostalgic appeal. To add sparkle, the permanent installation is adorned with 15 million Swarovski crystals decorating its 12 ceiling panels and 16 wall panels of whimsical faces – a signature and recurrent element of his design – that he says "transform elegance into art".
The cheerful faces can also be seen across the roof and the surrounding fence, signifying the expression of joy, surprise and delight of riding a carousel. The designer was inspired by folklore and fairy tales for the design of the unique black-and-white figures that act as seats in place of the traditional horses. "The Carousel provokes feelings of freedom and joy. I'm excited for people to be transported into this fairy tale," says Hayon. "It has movement, it has joy. It's a celebration for everyone. It's in a beautiful, magical context of these mountains that are powerful."
At 6.5 metres high and 12.5 metres in diameter, the ride is part of the family-oriented garden that also houses installations and pieces by André Heller, CAO PERROT, Fredrikson Stallard, Erwin Wurm, Bruno Gironcoli, Thomas Bayrle, Martin Gostner, Kwangho Lee and Alois Schild.