Let’s Light it Up
Have you seen the stunning light art installation in Sikkat Al Wadi at Msheireb Downtown Doha? Termed as Crystallation, it was designed and created by designers at Preciosa Lighting who tell us about the creative and technical details behind this stunning creation in a setting that aims to put the focus on the creative spurts from the country.
Doha Design District is a cultural hub for local, regional and international talents that will foster collaborations. Msheireb Downtown, where the Design District is located is the world’s first sustainable downtown regeneration project which has revived the old commercial district with a new architectural language that is modern, yet inspired by traditional Qatari heritage and architecture. It is within this inspiring setting that this beautiful art/lightwork was installed. A light installation that borders on public art than a light form is a collaborative work that involves public participation. This delicate installation gives a sense of responsibility, thereby shared trust and ownership to the public. Crystallation is an interactive light installation featuring seven gates in the shape of a tunnel. It is created by visitors who contribute to its final look by simply hanging a crystal in any spot of their choice. The interplay of crystal glass elements and light makes the tunnel walk an unforgettable and collaborative experience in Sikkat Al Wadi in Msheireb Downtown Doha.
“Crystallation is a symbol of design innovation. It is an opportunity to show how design can be used to raise awareness of the importance of community through collaboration. Each visitor had the opportunity to buy a pair of Preciosa Lighting crystal trimmings. One of the trimmings can be hung on the installation while the second trimming can be taken home. All proceeds from the sale of trimmings would be donated to the Education Above All Foundation founded in 2012 by Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser,” explains Ivana Rencova, Business Development Manager for Qatar. Preciosa Lighting.
Preciosa Lighting elevates the heritage of Bohemian crystal through contemporary lighting designs. “Crystallation embodies Preciosa Lighting’s mission to connect people through light. The company is built on centuries of tradition and the unique art of master glassmakers from Crystal Valley. We honour this heritage and craftsmanship by creating innovative lighting products that stand the test of time,” says Ivana.
We ask her more about this collaborative effort.
SCALE: How was Preciosa Lighting approached for this beautiful light installation? Did you have earlier working relations in the Middle East?
IVANA: The Preciosa Dubai office which covers the Middle East and Northern Africa was launched in 1994. However, we have been active in the region much longer; our first regional project came about in 1956, a royal “compound” in Saudi Arabia. Currently, we have a team of 20 based out of our office and showroom in the Dubai Design District. In 2020 we opened our office in Doha. The design community here is doing great work and we wanted to be a part of it.
One example of our work locally is the lighting we did for the Liang restaurant at Mandarin Oriental. We worked with Msheireb on this project and from that evolved the idea that we could collaborate again, creating something interactive and unique for the new Doha Design District.
SCALE: Who was the designer behind this?
IVANA: Crystallation is based on an idea by a previous Preciosa designer, Jaroslav Bejvl, Jr. Dubai-based Preciosa designer Anežka Závadová used the original sketches to adjust the installation specifically for the Doha Design District. She modified the size and made other technical changes to ensure it fits perfectly in the square.
SCALE: How easy or challenging was the process of building this piece?
Everything is a bit of a challenge in Covid-19 times. To ease potential complications and stress in Doha, we assembled the entire piece in a test room in our factory in Crystal Valley, Czech Republic. We were able to view the installation complete, ensure functionality, and fix any potentials issues. This was critical as at the time we were unsure if our technicians would be able to go to Qatar. Typically, our assembly teams travel to the final sites to install the lighting. We are so grateful to the Msheireb team who assisted us in securing the necessary visas for the team. The ‘pre-work’ done in Crystal Valley meant they had a smooth assembly process in Doha.
SCALE Give us more specifications on the light product.
IVANA: Crystallation is an interactive light installation featuring seven gates in the shape of a tunnel. It is 11.5 metres long and nearly three metres tall. Crystallation is created by visitors who contribute to its final look by hanging a crystal in any spot they’d like. There are 120,000 crystal trimmings in various shapes and sizes available for purchase. You can purchase your crystal trimmings at the Al Mana Maples pop-up on Sikkat Al Wadi. The prices start from QR 50. The proceeds go to the Education Above all Foundation. The interplay of crystal glass elements and light makes the tunnel walk an unforgettable and collaborative experience.
SCALE: How is this a unique piece for both Preciosa and for Msheireb?
IVANA: Crystallation embodies Preciosa Lighting’s mission to connect people through light. Thanks to the installation we will bring people together and connect them in support of a good cause. Crystallation is also a symbol of design innovation. We believe it is an opportunity to show how design can be used to raise awareness of the importance of community and collaboration.
We were honoured to be asked to collaborate on this project for the new Doha Design District. This is a memorable and significant project for us because the installation not only raises awareness about issues surrounding children and education but also raises money to support Education Above All. We are pleased to be a part of the Qatar design community.