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London designer Kim Thomé’s Zotem installation features patterns of faceted crystals that appear to rise up 18 metres through the Victoria and Albert Museum’s grand entrance of London Design Festival 2015.
The collaboration arise between Swarovski, Zotem is a double-sided monolith embedded with over-sized Swarovski crystals, which rises vertically from the Museum’s Grand Entrance to the Ceramics gallery directly above it, on the sixth floor.
When visitors enter the Grand Entrance of London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, they are greeted by Zotem. Thomé encased 600 oversized, custom-made Swarovski crystals within two identical, parallel sheets of matte black aluminium. A roll of brightly collared mesh runs in a continuous loop between the two aluminium faces, and as light shines through, the clear surface of the crystals is animated with a varying sequence of colour and pattern.
The looping mechanism references analog animation devices—in fact, Zotem is a combination of the words ‘zoetrope’ and ‘totem’—and yet results in a piece that appears to be digital. The vertical metal frame is an open structure, leaving the installation’s inner workings in plain view. This is half the fun. If hidden, the viewer might walk away thinking the animation is run by computers.
Many of the crystals used in the piece are 2.5 times their regular size. The very top of the towering structure can be viewed from the museum’s ceramics gallery, which sits above the entrance on the sixth floor. This is a privileged vantage point, where the crystal grid fans out and creates unique colour effects.