A few years ago, my friend George Bond had the honour of creating part of the British Interior Design Association show home in London. George is a well known international interior designer and gets invited to participate in all sorts of yummy events and this time he let me play too. George invited me to create the wall finishes for the lounge area. He had admired my guest bedroom wall (behind us) and wanted something similar. I knew George was not averse to a little sparkle. I also knew that Swarovski Crystal were working with designers of fashion and lighting and I thought, "It won't hurt to ask".
They were lovely to us, they liked the proposal and delivered a bag of tiny crystals for us to set into stencilled, polished plaster walls. The walls were made by the team at Armourcoat, UK plaster experts. The walls that Armourcoat created looked as though they had been carved from marble. They trowelled polished plaster through our set of chinoiserie panel stencils. Using panels 1-4 they made a stunning forty feet long tableaux of exotic birds, roses and peonies. The team assembled the walls on site then set about drilling hundreds of holes to hold the crystals. George has a slide show of the room on his web site but here is a detail.
I put the left over crystals on the stencilled Mandarins in my kitchen... ...and in the Chinoiserie bedroom.
Because they helped me out, I have an affection for Swarovski. I decided to visit Crystallized, their new landmark retail outlet and report upon it. The Crystallized Cosmos and Lounge is on Great Marlborough Street in London, next to Banana Republic and Liberty.
It is a crystal playground offering the customer an insight into the vast variety of Swarovski product and the projects in which they are involved. It is a 300 square metre space full of sparklies to inspire, buy and create with.
I arrived too late to play as I had a train to catch, but was taken on a whirlwind tour by the very helpful PR Manager. She escorted me to The Lounge, an airy, crystal encrusted relaxation space with a bar serving drinks and snacks. The Lounge plays host to fashion shows, crystal related events and visitors hungry for food or inspiration.
The crystal drum kit had just arrived home from it's outing to The Eurovision Song Contest. Costumes from the world of music and movies sparkled in their display cabinets. Crystal skull anyone??? I was given a brochure offering jewellry making classes and drop in sessions scheduled for this month. I was also given vouchers for refreshment on my return. Mmmmm.. frothy coffee in the Crystal Lounge surrounded by sparkly. Will I go back? You bet. The words kid and candy store spring to mind and I am excited already.
Warning, the Crystallized Cosmos website takes an age to load, but there is loads to look at when you finally get there. Here's a sprinkling of the sparkly stuff to get you in the mood.