Valerie, My Crystal Sister
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A collaboration with Roche for Vitra Design Museum

DNA, Crystal Glass

104 x 184 x 140 cm

Valerie, My Crystal Sister is a crystal chandelier, presented by Dutch designer Lucas Maassen in collaboration with Roche for the newConfrontations: Contemporary Dutch Design exhibition at the Vitra Design Museum.

At the beginning of his project, Maassen started by raising a question: is it possible to use the biological process that created me as a design process to create an object?
The answer to this question took several months. Together with Roche, he first crystallized synthetic DNA fragments (which are present in Maassen'n parents). A magnified glass version of this crystal, which is, of course, only visible under the microscope, was then produced by the Vienna-based crystal manufactory Lobmeyr. One thousand such pieces will then form a crystal chandelier.

Ultimately, this project is about the visualization of life. DNA is the basic code of life, an essential part of every organism. Every one of us contains DNA fragments like the ones Lucas Maassen and Roche crystallized and turned into a chandelier, including the designer's parents and the sister that he never had because his parents' marriage ended too soon.

Thinking of her, he called the project Valerie, my Crystal Sister, according to the name that his parents would have chosen for him, had he been a girl. The chandelier, and thus, their "crystal daughter", was be assembled by Maassen's parents in a performance on 12 June At the Vitra Design Museum.

All images and video by Mike Roelofs

Images DNA crystals by Roche

A special thanks to:
Dr. Tanja Schulz-Gasch
Amelie Znidaric