Since 2007 Swarovski Crystal has been collaborating with set designers and the Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences to design the glittering stages for The Oscars. This year marks Swarovski’s 10th anniversary of set design and will feature 300,000 Swarovski crystals on stage, six times more then their first Oscar set in 2007.
Ten Years Of Swarovski Embellished Oscar Sets
In ten years of Swarovski embellished Oscar sets, more than 1.2 million Swarovski crystals have been used in the design, and more than one million crystals have been incorporated into the costumes.
This year’s set design, the fifth by set designer Derek McLane, has an Art Deco inspired look.
Derek’s sketches for the 2017 Swarovski embellished Oscar set:
Swarovski Embellished Oscars Stages from 2007-2017
In 2007, Swarovski collaborated with J. Michael Riva (who passed away in 2012) to provide the crystal curtain for the nominated film Dreamgirls musical number. This was a one-ton, 34-foot custom designed Swarovski crystal curtain sparkling with over 50,000 crystals for show-stopping impact.
Two years later, Dolby Theater architect David Rockwell partnered with Swarovski to create his vision: a grand crystal proscenium curtain with over 100,000 Swarovski crystals. Bigger and grander than the 2007 curtain, this stood 60 feet tall and 100 feet wide – weighing in at three tons and being comprised of over 6,000 one-meter hand crafted strands. The curtain was so spectacular it had an encore the following year.
David Rockwell and his Rockwell Group brought back the curtain for 2010.
The elegant, modern set of the 83rd Academy Awards®, designed by Steve Bass, prominently featured shimmering Swarovski crystals, which intensified this year’s radiant display of Hollywood stars. A Tinseltown staple in every way, Swarovski crystals enhanced not only the set, but also the atmosphere of this prestigious Awards ceremony. The illuminating crystals were incorporated into the circular stage piece where winners accepted their awards, and created a shining path accenting the steps leading up to the stage and on stage.
Steve Bass used crystal in his 2011 designs including risers, stage steps, and a starburst-inspired crystal “winners circle” featuring 11 different shapes and sizes of crystal.
And the stars aligned in 2012 as John Myhre created a 70 foot wide by 40 foot high custom made Swarovski “star field” backdrop twinkling with nearly 4,500 crystals, with a shimmering “halo” of 2,000 crystals evoking a magical atmosphere true to the essence of Hollywood.
“When I was asked to design the 85th Academy Awards, I immediately began to think of ways to use crystals to bring some of that magic to the stage. For me, Swarovski crystals have always represented the height of elegance and glamour. Their association with the Academy Awards show has become one of the signatures that defines the grandeur of the evening. This year we have an extraordinary guest performing on the show, and I have designed a crystal curtain as her signature environment” – Derek McClane
Set Designer Derek McLane incorporated over 1,500 pounds of Swarovski crystal into the stage and auditorium design. It took over one month to realize his vision of a spectacular 80 feet wide and 40 feet high crystal curtain among other dazzling elements.
Derek McLane actually received an Oscar for Best Production for his 2014 Oscar set
Derek McLane has been the reigning Oscars set designer since 2013, expanding the crystal reach to opera boxes and “swag drapes.” Most notably, the Ice Palace curtain was featured in the 2014 Oscars during Idina Menzel’s performance of the Frozen theme song, “Let It Go.”
In 2015, Swarovski partnered with production designer Derek McLane in his third year designing the look of the show. Using nearly 100,000 Swarovski crystals, this year’s set incorporated 22 different pieces including the stunning “Crystal Closedown Wall.” With a beautiful crystal gradient pattern, the wall drew viewers’ attention directly to the center of the stage.
“My inspiration… was to create a Busby Berkley-inspired field of radiated crystals… emanating out from the center, almost like an explosion. When it came to the stage curtains, I wanted to create a feeling that the entire Dolby stage was a forest made out of Swarovski Crystals.” – DerekMcLane, Production Designer
The 2016 stage set the bar with a shimmering production of epic proportions by 4 time return Tony Award®-winning Oscar set designer Derek McLane. With an unmistakable nod to Hollywood’s signature gold, McLane’s stage elements featured tone on tone variances of the hue. Seven “crystal wave towers” appeared to float in the background, featuring more than 110,000 Swarovski crystals.
Over 1,600 man hours were spent creating the 2016 crystal stage décor, composed of over 200,000 crystals, including a massive crystal focal piece weighing over 20,000 pounds, and a single crystal centerpiece weighing in at over 7,700lbs. The stage’s low float gave the show a unique feeling of intimacy, and the inner crystallized chamber’s curvy, organic shape hinted at retro screens.
images courtesy of A.M.P.A.S., the Gold Knight and The Swarovski Group