For sheer eye-popping visual splendor, the Shanghai Gallery of Art is the place to visit before the spectacle draws to a close on July 6. The “spectacle” in question is World Jewelry Facets, whose theme this year is The Art of Crystals, a tribute to Swarovski’s many artistic partnerships, which have been a cornerstone of its creative philosophy right from the start.
This is the seventh time the exhibition has visited China. The host gallery is located at Three on the Bund, a century-old building restored in 2000 by respected architect Michael Graves, and highly prized as an historic landmark. As backdrops go, it’s breathtaking.
But what of the exhibition inside? It’s a visual feast, an extravagant range of creative endeavors drawn from the jewelry sector worldwide. In addition to jaw-dropping contemporary jewels ranging from commercial items to opulent showpieces by 85 acclaimed international and local designers and brands, there are also art installations. From Elaine Yan Ling Ng comes an amazing kinetic crystal installation called Sundew; her design approach takes in textiles, electronics and biomimicry to create a highly interactive presentation. From Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt, the duo behind Semiconductor, comes The Shaping Grows, a computer-generated crystal cave controlled by seismic data from earthquake activity around the world.
This was also the first year that Swarovski unveiled its 2016/17 brand campaign for Crystals from Swarovski at World Jewelry Facets. Entitled Brilliant Inspiration, it’s a series of arresting portraits of modern creative icons shot by photographer Tim Walker, all displaying his famous sense of theatre. They include Thom Browne, Jason Wu, Edward Enninful, Isamaya Ffrench, Karlie Kloss, Mary Katrantzou, Charlotte Olympia, and Rodarte’s Kate and Laura Mulleavy. They are big on narrative, whimsy and drama, with each telling a personal story about the sitter.
Audrey Liu, glam hostess of China’s biggest English-language entertainment television show, was MC at the elegant launch reception attended by three hundred guests from the fashion industry, the international design community and the media. Not all of us will get to visit Shanghai, but we can at least enjoy some of the extraordinary pieces from the exhibition on this page, and we can dream...