Suspended in pride of place above the lobby of the five-star Nanyuan Hotel in the Chinese city of Ningbo hangs a masterpiece of vision, design and construction: an eleven meter by five meter spiral chandelier comprised of one thousand three hundred and fifty diamond-cut pyramids in various hues of yellow, honey and amber.
Created by designer, Jaroslav Bejvl, Jr., the magnificent chandelier draws equal inspiration from local Chinese culture, in which a spiral signifies harmony, as Preciosa’s own, century-old signature diamond-cut style – to create a piece of lighting art that is as stunning in daylight as when lit for the evening. As amazing as the light itself, however, is the story of its creation and construction.
When the owner of the luxury five-star Nanyuan Hotel contacted us it was with an express and singular purpose. He had seen one of our chandeliers gracing a hotel he had recently stayed in and asked if we could create something magnificent for his own hotel.
His instructions were that it should be monumental, yet sophisticated; that it should be the centerpiece of the lobby, but without dominating it; that it should be as impressive in daylight as when lit; and that it should have an organic feel with a textured surface, rather than smooth glass. Not wanting to miss an opportunity as great as this, we immediately got to work to present him with three designs – one of which impressed him so much, we closed the deal then and there.
In order to create the rounded spiral, we manufactured a steel frame that we shaped into the organic form we wanted. This presented some exceptionally difficult mathematical and geometric challenges, however, since the pyramids in each row of the frame required different ratios.
To ensure that the pyramids fit the spiral frame, we used a special mathematical formula to calculate the specific ratio for each pyramid. Our designers then sketched the entire layout and labeled each element with its size, color and pattern.
The entire light is made up of more than two thousand individual glass pyramids of different size and color, with each pyramid consisting of three hand-cut and patterned opal glass triangles. Handcrafting all the pyramids ultimately required more than three months of work.
In order to create each pyramid and connect it to the steel frame, each piece of glass needed to be edged with copper foil and soldered by hand to the frame using tin in the same manner jewelers use what is known as the Tiffany technique. In total we used four hundred twenty kilos of tin.
Despite having a huge facility of our own, the light was so large that in order to assemble and finish it we had no option but to remove the roof on one of our factories and install a construction crane to support the full weight of the light.
Once finished, we were faced with a new challenge: reducing its four and a half ton weight to two and a half tons so it could be safely attached to the glass dome in the hotel’s lobby. Since it was in no way possible to save weight by compromising on the glass, our only option was to modify the steel frame. Our solution was to perforate the frame with small holes, which would maintain the integrity of the frame while saving us two tons of weight.
Once the client approved the final light we faced yet another challenge: labeling, packing, shipping and then installing the entire construction, delicate glass, complex electrical wiring, heavy steel and all. The ceiling in the hotel lobby, at a height of thirty-two meters, is largely glass. In order to support the two and a half ton, eleven meter by five meter light we used nine major and eighteen secondary anchors to distribute the weight. Placing those and then lifting the light up to thirty-two meters required that we employ both cranes and actual mountain climbers comfortable working at that height.
1350 glass pyramids
The total number of opal glass pyramids making up the light.
The amounf of tin used to cennect the glass triangless to each other and to the frame.
The numbers of light sources lighting the whole.
The height of the light.
The light´s diameter.