On the occasion of the 55th International Art Exhibition — Venice Biennale, Swarovski presents the newly-established Swarovski Foundation with a project by British minimalist architect John Pawson. Titled Perspectives, the project is installed in the heart of the Basilica di San Giorgio Maggiore.
The new Swarovski foundation has established a series of missions: the improvement of human rights; social engagement; support of women initiatives as the access to sanitary system and education to favour the progress of young people and community; the preservation of natural resources on earth; the constant support to creativity and culture at large; and the promotion of innovative projects as well as a deep liaison with research in design, for example in its support of the Design Museum London.
Related to the latter, the collaboration with San Giorgio’s monastic community — founded in 982, when the island was donated to the Benedictine Giovanni Morosini by Doge Tribuno Memmo to build a monastery dedicated to San Giorgio — aims to restore the statue of San Giorgio on top of the dome of the Palladian church, construction of which was completed in 1610, thirty years after the celebrated architect’s death.
The work by John Pawson, originally designed to be presented in occasion of the 2011 London Design Festival and inaugurated in the city’s striking Saint Paul's Cathedral, comprises a 40 cm-wide concave Swarovski crystal meniscus lens, made from optical quality glass, that sits on a much larger reflective surface — the upper plane of a specially fabricated metal hemisphere with a 1200 mm diametre and a 675 mm height.
“The architecture of Sir Christopher Wren’s cathedral is rich and complex and the temptation when you visit is to try to take in everything,” states Pawson on the project’s original presentation. “The thinking behind the piece was to isolate just a small element of the building and offer a spatial experience based around this single and sharply honed perspective. I am thrilled that, thanks to the support of the Swarovski Foundation, we are able to show the piece in this year’s Venice Biennale”.
“I am particularly excited that the work will be installed beneath the cupola of Andrea Palladio’s extraordinary architectural masterpiece as the Basilica di San Giorgio Maggiore,” Pawson continues. “Like St. Paul’s cathedral, the basilica is an immensely complex spatial environment. Here again the aim is to offer the eye a place to rest, like a form of visual meditation”.
With the Perspectives project, the first Swarovski official collateral event at la Biennale di Venezia, Swarovski Foundation's missions to promote creativity and innovation through working in direct contact with architects, artists and designers such as Ron Arad, Zaha Hadid, Gaetano Pesce, Tom Dixon, Ross Lovegrove, Tord Boontje, Piero Lissoni, Fernando & Humberto Campana, Karl Lagerfeld, Christian Lacroix, Mary Katrantzou, Marios Schwab and Giles Deacon, demonstrates its deep and solid commitment to the artistic community and beyond.
Moreover, a financial donation to the Benedictine monks — the first donation made by the new Swarovski Foundation wanted by Nadja Swarovski, Member of Swarovski’s Executive Board and Chair of the Swarovski Foundation’s board of Directors — will enable the restoration of the statue of San Giorgio, helping to ensure that the 16th Century basilica is preserved as one of the key examples of extraordinary architecture in the world. Maria Cristina Didero