Architects: Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel and Partners
Location: Beverly Hills, CA, USA
Client: De Beers
Area: 350.0 sqm
Project Year: 2005
Photographs: Simone Barberis
From the architect. The guiding considerations in the project were the capacity of diamonds to generate extraordinary effects of light, and the purely abstract nature of their material. Cut glass crossed by light also generates a spectacular materic effect with a very strong character.
Used as a backdrop and enclosure of an exhibition space, glass is associated with natural, opaque materials like ebony and stone, almost like an illustration of the profound relationship with nature conserved in the precious stone, whose intrinsic value goes beyond any enhancement based on its identity as a jewel.
In the display of jewelry, a mode of mediation has to be established between the observer and the object. Pieces of jewelry are small and precious: they must be simultaneously protected and offered.
The display system also uses glass as its essential material. But in this case it is an exceptionally white transparent crystal, capable of generating an abstract exhibit space that seems to float in the room: transparent boxes conceived to border light, to concentrate attention.
The theme of the light of diamonds is constantly evoked: in the ventilated facade of the building, composed of metal boxes in hammered stainless steel, screened by etched and transparent panes of glass and lit by optical fibers; in the display window and the divider walls, both made with etched glass, and in the skylight of the terrace, outdoors and again made with hand-hammered stainless steel.
Literally immersed in a prismatic kaleidoscope of reflections, sophisticated visualization tools enhance the display of the products with microscopic enlargements and videos of the stones. The result is a very striking visual context, with vivid contrasts between shiny and matte, light and shadow, heft and lightness.