Swarovski Crystal Inspired Furniture by Eyal Burstein

For Design Miami Basel 2012 Swarovski has commissioned Beta Tank to create a collection of objects inspired by Swarovski.

The result has been a window in to the studios research project and one in to the world of Swarovski present and future. There are essentially two different objects created for this commission. The first is a 2.5m long bench made out of acrylic profiles, which are placed side by side in kit form, ending up in a bench like form. This piece is part of the Taxing Art project, which looks at the effects governments have on creativity through the application of VAT and customs. The Tax Bench and its production is a response to a court case between the Haunch of Venison gallery and Her Majesties Customs and Excise. In this instance the UK government took the Haunch of Venison Gallery to court for applying VAT incorrectly as the customs officer on duty at the time of inspection had deemed the crate filled with the works of Dan Flavin and Bill Viola not as works of art but as a collection of speakers, light tubes, cables and plugs. It was decided that these electrical goods were therefore incorrectly labeled as art and £40k bill was handed to the gallery by the UK government.

Whilst all parties involved agree that the objects in question are indeed works of art at their place of origin and likewise at their destination it was deemed that en route the objects are not art. The Tax Bench and it’s production method are a direct response to this wonderful paradox. Each of the 135 acrylic profiles are unique. They travel as separate pieces and only take on the more familiar Bench form once they are stacked side by side. The Bench is made in this way in order to create uncertainty at the point of inspection. Legally the objects can pass off as art but once they are in place they are no longer ambiguous and will probably fall under a higher VAT rate.