Michael Benisty Swarovski Crystals “Die To Live”Published on: December 5th, 2012 by SoFlaNights
The façade of The Catalina Hotel will undergo a decadent transformation in December, when one of today’s most innovative art and design pioneers, together with the world’s leader in crystal, unveils a dazzling 700 pound design masterpiece during this year’s Art Basel Miami Beach. Coveted New York based Belgian artist, Michael Benisty, introduces “Die To Live,” a breathtaking art and design installation that brings over 700 pounds of mirror-polished stainless steel, sculpted in the shape of a skull and encrusted with 345,798 Golden-Black Swarovski Elements, to be displayed as a spectacular street side exhibit in front of The Catalina Hotel on Collins Avenue, in the heart of South Beach. The one-of-a-kind 7-foot tall sculpture, produced in partnership with Swarovski and estimated to be valued at more than $150,000, is embedded with a mosaic crystal design known as “Fleur de Lis” and will adorn the face of The Catalina Hotel during Art Basel as one of the most dramatic design installations to-date. Die to live symbolizes the paradox between life and death. The skull represents death but is brought to life by the shimmering of 345,798 Swarovski crystals and it’s mirror-polished stainless steel material. The aim was to build the sculpture big enough to look people right in the eyes, in order to evoke and provoke a discussion of death and we perceive it. It’s beauty, reflecting life, allows the viewer to face this sensitive subject through a deeper perspective. Benisty was already in the process of building the piece while he was shooting Nadja Swarovski for Whitewall magazine. He asked her to look at the skull in development, after which, she fell in love with the project and Die To Live was born. The skull was built in partnership with Shanghai Art Foundry in 2010 and Swarovski completed its crystal design in mid 2011. All together, the design and building process of the sculpture took more than a year, from the clay mold to the stainless steel structure and mirror polishing effect, to its final crystal design application in the shape of a Fleur de Lis design. Die to Live has only been exhibited in the United States and is available at a purchase price of $150,000. The sculpture will be on display outside the Catalina Hotel.