HIGHLY SENSITIZED: Stefan Sagmeister and Jessica Walsh, the creative duo behind Sagmeister & Walsh, turned to Swarovski for a little reinforcement to create “The Sensory Room.”
The multi-sensory installation is part of the “Sagmeister & Walsh: Beauty” exhibition at the MAK, Austrian Museum of Applied Arts/Contemporary Art in Vienna.
Through March 31, museum visitors will find an exhibition that is rooted in the power of beauty in design. The main attraction is the Sensory Room. Stepping into the crystal-encrusted, white cube-like area, patrons are immersed in fog, beams of color, citrus scents and sound. Combined, the overall effect of all the elements is meant to help visitors relax with a calming and soothing experience. Even the music — song of the Malaysian marsh frog — is meant to help patrons unwind.
The artistic four walls are encased in more than 26,000 Swarovski crystals. The two New York–based designers decided on Chalkwhite for a soft glow with an added luster. In total, Sagmeister & Walsh have chosen 70 items for the exhibition, which consumes most of the MAK on the Stubenring. Near the Selfie Station, visitors have the choice of virtually wearing one of two dresses designed by Mary Katrantzou. The longtime Swarovski collaborator has created two options for the digital installation. Visitors can also choose from four sparkly headdresses, envisioned by Atelier Marangoni and Philip Treacy.
Even MAK’s staffers reflect the Sagmeister & Walsh-enhanced beautified experience. Each wears a long-sleeve shirt in Yves Klein blue embellished with Swarovski’s Chalkwhite crystals.
Sagmeister, who was born in Austria’s Vorarlberg, studied in Vienna and later relocated to New York on a Fulbright scholarship at Pratt Institute. His fame spread after designing album covers for The Rolling Stones, Aerosmith, Lou Reed and others. Like Walsh, he is a designer and art director. She has a client base that includes Barneys New York, Jay-Z, Levi’s and the Museum of Modern Art, among others. Their full-service creative agency has done a variety of work for such clients as the fashion label Milly, the Miami-based agency Gut, and Baboon, which bills itself as making technical bags for the slash generation, as in “illustrator/train hopper/optimist/writer/traveler.”