Paris Unveils Champs-Élysées Fountains Adorned with 3,000 Swarovski Crystals
Six fountains by French brothers Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec have been unveiled on the famed Champs-Élysées in Paris.
Sheathed in more than 3,000 Swarovski crystals, the fountains were commissioned by the Fonds Pour Paris and sit on newly renovated basins, originally created in the 19th century, on the Champs-Élysées roundabout between Place de la Concorde and the Arc de Triomphe. Each fountain consists of a central mast in bronze that supports 255 custom-made Swarovski crystal elements illuminated by LEDs.
The crystal portion of the fountains gently rotates, creating different effects throughout the day.
“For this project, it was important for us to stay in keeping with historical tradition by choosing a material—glass—that was already found in the previous fountains on the Champs-Élysées created by Lalique and Max Ingrand,” Ronan Bouroullec said in a statement. “In this instance, crystal is like a living substance; its perception shifts with the changing light of day and over the course of the seasons. At night, the crystal glass diffuses a soft light. Swarovski’s technical expertise also allowed us to design a crystal that would withstand harsh weather conditions and environmental changes due to its composition and mode of assembly.”
A key challenge in the Bouroullec brothers’ design was to connect the crystals without any visible components, so they would appear to be floating. A new support structure was developed by Swarovski to realize this design vision and to also allow for quick maintenance access to the LEDs and the crystals. For each fountain, Swarovski has incorporated almost 200 feet of LED strips with a total light output of 517 watts, making the fountains energy-efficient and sustainable.
The project marks the third time that the Bouroullecs have collaborated with the Austrian crystal maker. In 2007, they were commissioned by Nadja Swarovski to reinterpret the traditional chandelier, presenting a single large crystal containing an LED and a mirrored surface to encourage refraction of the light from the crystal during Salone del Mobile in Milan. More recently, in 2013, Swarovski commissioned the duo to create a chandelier that would hang in the Palace of Versailles. The chandelier was the first permanent contemporary installation at Versailles.
“We are delighted to collaborate with our longstanding creative partners Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec on this innovative design project for the people of Paris and its many visitors from around the world,” Nadja Swarovski, member of the Swarovski executive board, said in a release. “A visually stunning commission in an iconic location, these fountains incorporate hundreds of Swarovski crystals using patented new techniques and technologies which will help them to shine bright for many decades to come.”