Gabriel Chandelier
Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec Monday 06 Jan 2014

A dramatic new chandelier created by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec with the support and expertise of Swarovski has been lighting up the entrance to the King's Grand Apartments at the Palace of Versailles since November 2013. Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec won the commission through a competition launched in 2011 by the Public Administration of the Palace, Museum and State Property Department for Versailles to create a permanent mobile artwork to adorn and illuminate the grand Gabriel Staircase at the main entrance to the palace.

The award-winning designers created a majestic chandelier made of Swarovski crystal whose sweeping grace and modern lines integrate harmoniously with the historically charged location. The piece, which is over 12 metres high, is suspended in loops from the ceiling like a luminous transparent chain. It comprises three interlacing strands, each made of hundreds of Swarovski crystals illuminated by luminous LED light-sources which diffuse a gentle, continuous and encircling light. The design is ruled by the laws of gravity and will be experienced differently by each viewer as they gradually ascend the two flights of steps of the Staircase.

To create the chandelier, the designers chose crystal, the material traditionally used in the making of chandeliers for ceremonial rooms, in order to establish a strong link between the past and the present. They called upon the expertise and technological mastery of Swarovski, the prestigious Austrian crystal business, which has a longstanding collaborative relationship with the brothers and has supported the Palace of Versailles for more than 30 years. Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec's creation is a delicate yet complex alliance of crystal and innovative lighting, two areas in which Swarovski has long become the point of reference. The installation enriches its historic surroundings, emphasising the entrance to the Grand Apartments whilst preserving the unique nature of the space.

All photos credited to Studio Bouroullec.

designer biog

Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec

Ronan Bouroullec (born 1971) and Erwan Bouroullec (born 1976) have been working together for about ten years now. Their collaboration is a permanent dialogue nourished by their distinct personalities and a shared notion of diligence with the intention to reach more balance and fineness. In 1997, they presented their “Disintegrated Kitchen” at the Salon du Meuble in Paris and were spotted by Giulio Cappellini, who gave them their first industrial design projects, notably the Lit clos (“Closed Bed”) and the Spring Chair. Today, Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec design for numerous manufacturers, namely Vitra, Kvadrat, Magis, Kartell, Established and Sons, Ligne Roset, Axor, Alessi, Issey Miyake, Cappellini and more recently Flos and Mattiazzi. At the same time, they maintain an experimental activity which is essential to the development of their work at Galerie kreo, Paris, where four exhibitions of their designs have been held between 2001 and 2010. They also embark on occasional architectural projects such as the Maison flottante (“Floating House”) in 2006 or the Camper stores in Paris and Copenhagen (2009) and the Casa Camper Hotel’s restaurant, Dos Palillos, in Berlin (2010).