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15 million Swarovski crystals adorn The Carousel in Austria, as imagined by Spanish designer Jaime Hayon

JUL 11, 2019 | By Nitija Shastri

Adding a fresh spin to the good ol’ fair carousels is a magnificent interactive installation at the Swarovski Kristallwelten, in the quiet countryside of Wattens, Austria. The Carousel—the brainchild of celebrated Spanish artist-designer Jaime Hayon—whose work hovers between art and design was inspired by folklore and fairy tales to create the fantasy characters. Nestled within the park’s topiary with a stunning backdrop of the verdant mountains, the installation stands at a 6.5 meters high, spanning about 12.5 meters. While it can accommodate 28 passengers of all ages, it even includes spaces designated for wheelchairs.

The designer imagined whimsical faces– drawing inspiration from African masks, with a series of fantastical black and white characters and even playful clown faces to name just a few of the figurines that will spin around. A monochrome fence that features playful faces in outline runs around the perimeter. Sounds like a fun ride yet?The craftsmanship of the Victorian era is exemplified in this fully functional piece, which is beautifully adorned with 15 million Swarovski crystals. Comical characters decorate the roof and the surrounding fence, expressing the joy, surprise and delight that riding a carousel brings. We hit the nostalgia button—reminiscent of childhood fairs and playground, “The Carousel provokes feelings of freedom and joy. It is an art piece in movement and a place where imagination begins,” explains Jaime. “I’m excited for people to be transported into this fairy tale,” he adds. The installation took six months to create and the designer combined unique character figures, immersing riders in a crystalline moving fantasy world.“The carousel is a symbol of innocence and light-heartedness,” says Carla Rumler, curator of Swarovski Kristallwelten. Defying the stereotype that the carousel is a child’s ride, she adds, “In this exciting new interpretation, the traditional connotation has been elevated and transformed into art.”
The Carousel is now open to visitors in the gardens of Swarovski Kristallwelten (Crystal Worlds) in Wattens, Austria.