Bright crystals

The Bouroullec brothers illuminate the Palace of Versailles with a majestic crystal chandelier.

French design brothers Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec have produced the first-ever permanent contemporary artwork for the Palace of Versailles.

Known for designing works that focus on detail, precision and perfection, the Bouroullec’s Gabriel Chandelier is no exception.

The 12-metre-high stainless steel installation, weighing just less than 500kgs, is adorned with more than 800 Swarovski crystals and illuminated by multiple LED lights.

For the brothers, choosing the right material was most important. In opting for crystals, the duo has referenced the traditional material used in lavish homes and palaces for dramatic chandeliers during and right after the Renaissance period. With this reference, the brothers were able to establish a strong link between the past and the present.

Suspended in loops over the Gabriel Staircase at the main entrance to the palace, the delicateness of the contemporary installation harmoniously integrates with the history-charged location in which it resides.

During the suspension of the installation, the brothers drew on principles of gravity, allowing the chandelier to fall in a natural and organic manner. As visitors descend the stairs on arrival, they are confronted with a unique experience dependent on their position and the angle at which they are viewing the artwork.

The Gabriel Staircase, a monumental space conceived by Ange-Jacques Gabriel in 1772, was never completed. Work resumed in the 1980s but once again came to a halt. After winning a competition launched in 2011 for the completion of a focal point for the staircase, the Gabriel Chandelier now completes and enrichens its historic surroundings while simultaneously preserving the unique nature of the space.

Watch the Talk with Bouroullec Brothers

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