London-based design duo Fredrikson Stallard's aptly named 'Prologue' - a monumental steel circle hand-strung with 8,000 gold Swarovski crystals - is the first in a series of art installations at PMQ, a new cultural hub on Hong Kong's booming Hollywood Road.
The striking 4-metre high outdoor artwork, unveiled to coincide with Art Basel Hong Kong (15-18 May), maximises views of its outdoor courtyard location, where it is flanked by two historic buildings housing boutiques, studios and restaurants.
Each identical pear-shaped crystal is attached with a single gold clip to a criss-crossing mesh of wires within the steel circle creating an animated crystallised lens inspired by the sun. The piece will be illuminated in 'a painterly way' to transform into the moon at night. 'We never use crystals [simply] as decoration,' explains Patrik Fredrikson. 'We wouldn't start hanging crystals onto something that if you took them away, it would still be there.'
The industrial steel frame and base reflects the pair's fascination with contrasting materials. 'It is a very raw form that will age. We like that contrast with the clarity and precision of the crystals,' continues the designer. 'It also stops the piece from rolling away and somehow grounds the sun in this city environment with its constant construction.'
Although given complete artistic freedom by Swarovski, the designers - and recent Wallpaper* Handmade collaborators - say public sculpture is always a challenge: 'We follow a harsh editing process to keep things to what is essential. Not in a modernist or minimalist way. It is abstract expressionism that makes us tick.'