With a satchel full of knickknacks in hand, Studio Job ventured from Antwerp to Austria to compose a Chamber of Wonders for Swarovski Kristallwelten – literally Crystal Worlds – in Wattens. The newest of 16 permanent exhibitions within the Chamber of Wonders building, The Wunderkammer is a spatial interpretation of smaller cabinets – by the same name – which during Europe's Renaissance were microcosmic environments filled with scientific artefacts to deliver a sense of awe to curiosity seekers.
Upon passing through a set of double doors, visitors encounter a lively surprise. At the centre of a circular room decorated with laser-cut mirrors and stained glass windows stands a white capped mountain. Reaching an elevation of five meters, the peak is blanketed with a snow white layer of glistening crystals.
Its sides are adorned with a cascade of eclectic mementos from global cities in polished bronze and gilded with 24 karat gold. Along the steep faces, the assortment of iconic monuments become neighbours with Wattens' local houses including New York City's Statue of Liberty, London's Big Ben, the sculpture of David by Michelangelo and even Antwerp's Central Station – a reference to Studio Job's home. Hand painted in reflective jewel-tones, the ornately detailed clock towers, facades and windows give depth to the imaginative landscape.
An electric locomotive animates the scene, winding along a track to pass through tunnels which carve through a fanciful town rooted in whimsical reality. Filling the air, Heinrich Isaac's 14th century ballad Innsbruck, I Must Leave You infuses ambiance of the Renaissance.
Photos Bernhard Aichner