It’s impossible to deny the impact of the sun upon art. More than providing the light and igniting the colors for our eyes to interpret a piece, the sun has acted as a muse for centuries and across cultures. A new homage, by Mexico City-based architecture and design firm Fernando Romero Enterprise (FR-EE) offers a stunning new take on the depths of solar inspiration. The piece—aptly named “El Sol”—on view at Design Miami during Miami Art Week 2015, utilizes 2,800 precision-cut, custom Swarovski crystals bolstered by a core of warm LEDs. In fact, it’s a detailed replica of the sun, designed to scale at exactly one billionth the size. It’s a geodesic wonder, equal parts artful and mathematical, that’s more than just a stand alone piece of art.
Fernando Romero, the creative director of FR-EE, cites more than the sun as an inspiration; he draws upon Aztec and Mayan geometries (initially employed to interpret celestial happenings) within the work. The sculpture’s outer structure is composed of four different types of crystals—covered in Swarovski’s Aurora Borealis coating—lending rainbow-like refractions of light. The LED core, and the spotlight above, provide source light which shifts and tumbles much like the sun above. The piece is never still. Romero says, “The geometric patterns presented in El Sol mirror those found in the natural world and remind us that certain proportions are woven into the very fabric of nature.”
Accompanying the visual presentation, a soundscape developed by the University of Birmingham’s School of Physics and Astronomy amplifies the very sound of the sun, as documented by spectrometers capturing acoustic waves for the school’s decades long BiSON project. Specifically, the sun produces a ring at 0.003 Hz (well below that which humans can hear) so the frequency has been multiplied 100,000 times. It’s another mathematical component to an installation that calls upon the inherent organization of what oftentimes seems like a chaotic universe. This is the 10th Swarovski installation at Design Miami, and it’s certainly one of the most ambitious. Three months of development went into the piece, as well as 350 hours of engineering work at their lab in Wattens, Austria. It’s a wonder and, much like the sun, images do not capture the grandeur as much as seeing it in real life.
El Sol is on view at Design Miami, 2-6 December 2015. Staff is on hand to offer visitors crystal lenses for cell phone cameras that refract El Sol prismatically when capturing an image—lending a visual truer to the actual experience.
Images by David Graver