Southern Exposure Q&A: Marek Landa, Owner, Crystal Caviar

Perhaps his love for the ocean and his upbringing in a little village of the Czech Republic with a deep connection to bohemian craft made his career choice as a fine art glass artisan a given. Meet Marek Landa, the mind behind Crystal Caviar, a company with a leading team of artists who create unique pieces of glass and crystal art that adorn hotels, cruise ships, as well as private homes and yachts.

SB: What is the story behind Crystal Caviar? How did it start?
ML: I started a company under my name Marek Landa in 1995 producing engraved glassware for hotels and custom made chandeliers. In 2010 the company was renamed Crystal Caviar. A crystal wall finish I invented that looks like caviar was the inspiration behind the name. Since then we’ve used these “caviar” tiles as luxury frames for one-of-a-kind mirrors. We’ve also used it as a finish for 100-square meter fountains on Allure of the Seas and Oasis of the Seas—among Royal Caribbean International’s largest cruise ships. The material was also used as a finish on several private yachts and as wall art in private residences. Because the clear “caviar” tiles have excellent optical properties, they are ideal for chandeliers. Crystal Caviar has created many chandeliers from these tiles, including a 3,000 lbs. chandelier for a private palace in Riyadh, Saudia Arabia.

SB: How did you know that you wanted to work with glass?
ML: Glass and Crystal are such beautiful materials and it is a true pleasure to work with them. The beauty of glass speaks for itself as to why I fell in love with it. It is also an extremely luxurious material to create art. I love art and now more than 70 renowned artists produce their art pieces in the Crystal Caviar premises.

SB: When did the marine world become part of your work?
ML: From the years 2000 to 2006, I had to pleasure to become close to the yachting industry and I came to realize that there were no chandeliers on yachts—yacht designers were afraid to use chandeliers because of their moving parts, how they vibrate and how easily they could break, damage something or cause injuries. Because of my nautical experience I convinced several designers and asked them to trust me into building several luxury chandeliers for yachts. Since then, we’ve built more than 100 sea worthy chandeliers on many yachts and Crystal Caviar is considered to be the expert in building chandeliers that don’t rattle, that are safe and don’t deteriorate in hard marine environment.

I must proudly say that until now we haven’t had to repair any single part of our chandeliers installed on yachts. However we are often asked to repair chandeliers on yachts produced by others companies.

SB: What goes through the creation process?
ML: The collection of Crystal Caviar pieces available for clients consist of more than 500 glass art sculptures and more than 3,000 designs for chandeliers. We also have in our workshops 15,000 samples of various glass techniques.

The client usually comes to us with the kind of style for the chandelier they want to build and based on that information (it could be a sketch, drawing or photography) we prepare a computer visual for their approval. Then chandelier, mirror, sculpture, glass wall, or glass floor is produced and installed by Crystal Caviar. For example, this is how we produced a 4-meter high chandelier for SERENE—a more than 430-foot private superyacht.

SB: What can you tell us about some of the art pieces for yachts that you’ve worked on or will be working on in the future?
ML: We just produced with world-renowned artist, Mr. Beránek, two sculptures made of Bohemian crystal—100 kg each (220.5 lbs.). Mr. Beránek also produced with us a 2-meter-long art table. For another client, Crystal Caviar is working on an 8-meter-long crystal staircase sculpture. Another world famous artist, Mr. Frydrych, just produced a 250 kg optical sculpture, which will be soon installed on a 60-meter yacht. At the moment we are producing art chandeliers for seven private yachts. We also now have on our drawing boards the first crystal fountain with water.

SB: What is your main objective when you are creating a work of art?
ML: We always try to follow the client’s taste and we never let the client down if he or she requires unusual or “crazy” art pieces. That is why we have become a company that people approach if they want something that nobody else has. “Crazy” ideas are born from creative minds and that is the main reason why Crystal Caviar cooperates with more than 70 artists.

SB: What do you enjoy most about being an artist?
ML: Freedom, challenge and uniqueness.

SB: Can you tell us about one or two of your favorite pieces?
ML: One of the most interesting work we have done was a 4-meter chandelier on SERENE, which we did in cooperation with Mr. Frydrych. His multifaceted components created a special effect as if stone jewelry were hanging above the dining table. The most difficult, but also very unique and enjoyable piece I’ve produce was a 4.5-meter chandelier on 314-foot superyacht Kismet. But in general we supply art for more than 50 yacht projects and each of the project is fun and so different from the other. On Talisman C we used more than 700 crystal components, which was really fun to put together while making sure that nothing fell down.

SB: What do you enjoy most about the marine industry?
ML: I spent seven years cruising on different yachts and one can say that sea is in my blood. I also use my boating experience when designing chandeliers that do not rattle, rust and are safe on board.

SB: Do you own a boat?
ML: I have a little sailing catamaran and a little foldable boat, which I use in the summer to go out on a lake nearby. (There is no space for large yachts in the Czech Republic.)

SB: Where would be some public spaces where we can see and enjoy some of your art?
ML: A lots of Crystal Caviar pieces can be seen on exhibitions such as the Monaco Yacht Show, the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, or SuperyachtDesign Week. Some of our unique sculptures can be seen in South Florida, in a showroom of IK Yacht Design.

Southern Exposure, Nathalie Gouillou, February 2016