A crystal chandelier is a delicate thing to design
A crystal chandelier seems to be a very delicate thing to design. It does not depend on the amount of crystals one uses and it also does not depend on embedding as many bulbs as possible. It often looks like just glass or even plastic. Michael Hammers reiterates: “Hang just one perfectly cut crystal in your window at home. During the course of a day you will see that the sun’s light has hit that crystal and there it is, magical! The rainbow reflections dance around like encrypted messages from another world. That’s what attracts people and it’s what they love. Keep this in mind when you want to design the true sparkle of a crystal chandelier…”.
Michael has personally been working with crystals for about 15 years. And in 2001 when Nadja Swarovski started her Crystal Palace project to reinvent the rich tradition of crystal chandeliers, Michael and his crew were one of those avant-garde studios starting to play with outstanding visions of both established and upcoming designers, new lighting technologies and Swarovski crystal, first and foremost manufacturing the large scale installations.
“Joie – Crystal Water Fall” elicits all of Michael’s skills and personal experiences and as it’s essence was designed as a Swarovski’s brand-statement in New York City. “Joie” is a most beautiful 35-foot waterfall chandelier of pure timeless elegance. Made of 450 free hanging strands and 14,000 crystals it echoes the outline of “30 Rock”, the building that is the heart of Rockefeller Center.
“Pay respect to a vision”
When in early 2005 Tishman Speyer, co-owner of Rockefeller Center, was close to reopening 30 Rock’s historic observation decks, Swarovski became proud sponsor and commissioned Michael Hammers to collaborate with the architects in charge, the New York based architectural and interior design firm Gabellini Sheppard. “First of all, you honestly have to pay your respect to the vision and design of an architect and his client, who may have been working on their project for years. Of course something has already been designed when you show up and it’s not that easy to make everybody trust in you, in your sensitivity, in your own creativity and skills. Architecture is the mother of all art. Nothing will come to fruition if you ignore this by behaving like you are the only one who can tell how the world spins…” is one of Michael’s credos.
“Her Majesty, Queen of the Knots”
Michael’s method of hanging the crystals is as simple as it seems tricky.
“…my stranding and hooking started to be copied at venues all over the world, but believe or not you won’t find the perfect visual effect of the continuous sparkle of it’s original at Rock Center”, relishes Michael with his biggest smile, referring to the obvious ingenious simplicity of his technique. This brings him back to where he started “…just hang one perfectly cut crystal into your window at home and you can get it…if you can…”.
In his studio there is Hanna, a young lady with a God-given ability to craft, having both the passion and patience to do jobs which seem to never end. She created her own masterplan for those thousands of loops and handmade them with another young woman at precisely designed positions all over the 450 strands. Which led the team to proclaim her to be “Her Majesty, Queen of the Knots”.