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The Gabriel Chandelier

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Unveiling

11 November 2013, the Gabriel Chandelier was set up at the Palace of Versailles. This contemporary artwork, designed by Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec and realized by Swarovski, will permanently enlighten the Gabriel staircase.

First permanent contemporary artwork

In 2011, the Palace of Versailles launched a competition to create a permanent mobile artwork to adorn and illuminate the grand Gabriel Staircase. The award-winning projet : a majestic chandelier, made by the artists Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec, whose modern lines harmoniously integrate with the historically charged location.

The Chandelier is formed of three interlacing strands, each made of hundreds of crystal illuminated by luminous LEDs light-sources which diffuse a soft light. These immense, supple lines form an organic design ruled by the laws of gravity. The crystal establishes a strong link with the past sincethis material is traditionnally used in the making of chandeliers in Versailles.

© Studio Bouroullec © Studio Bouroullec

The Gabriel staircaise

Located at the entrance of the Grands Appartements, the Gabriel staircase conceived by Ange-Jacques Gabriel in 1772, was never completed. Work resumed in the 1980s, but the finished staircase lacked a focal point. The Gabriel Chandelier will enrich these historic surroundings whilst preserving the unique nature of the space.

Le Lustre Gabriel © Studio Bouroullec

A Word from the artists

« We had to produce a piece which possessed character but which, unlike several contemporary art initiatives at Versailles in the past, was not a temporary installation, nor a work of art, nor an exhibition. The design brief was to create a chandelier to light the Gabriel Staircase. [...]

Then we thought that in the final analysis it was not perhaps necessary to give a delineated form to this piece of lighting but rather to try to arrange it so that the form naturally found its line from gravity. In this way we developed the idea of twists of crystal suspended from four points on the ceiling and tracing loops which subdivide into organic trees. In the end its shape arrived almost naturally. »

Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec

© Studio Bouroullec


The patron

Swarovski helped to restaure some of the chandelier of the Palace by creating a candle lit by a flame in crystal LED allowing to reproduce perfectly the appearance, ambiance and tones of 17th century candle-lit chandeliers. These chandeliers can be found in Mesdames' apartments, the King and the Queen's Grands Apartments, the apartments of the Dauphin, Dauphine, as well as in the King and Queen's smaller apartments.


The Gabriel Chandelier was designed by Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec and realized by

Swarovski

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