In the early 20th century, as Paris’s fashion houses clamoured for Swarovski’s stones in order to adorn their clients’ couture gowns, it was as much for the glamour they bestowed on their clothing as it was for skills that the brand’s technicians brought to the application and setting of its ‘pierres taillées du Tyrol’.
Today, Swarovski offers over 300,000 different crystal cuts, colours and effects. Its precisely faceted, intensely brilliant crystals are subjected to strict calibration, ensuring that size tolerances are kept to a minimum and dimensions unfailingly uniform. All this is the culmination of expertise honed over decades by a workforce that enjoys fair working conditions in accordance with Austria’s exacting environmental standards.
In 2018, Swarovski’s key strengths — technical know-how and high-octane glamour — collided at the glittering opening of Manufaktur, the company’s new, cutting-edge atelier designed by Norwegian architects Snøhetta in collaboration with London-based lighting designer Sally Storey. Its design is highly sustainable, with its emphasis on natural materials such as wood and abundance of filtered, glare-free daylight. Manufaktur brings together ultra-modern rapid-prototyping — which allow clients to co-create, customise and see designs take shape there and then — and the unrivalled technical skills of Swarovski’s craftspeople.
Its official opening was celebrated with a two-day event during which guests toured its innovative facilities and attended a thought-provoking panel discussion on the future of Fashion and Sustainability hosted by Tim Blanks, featuring Kevin Germanier, the Paris-based poster boy for sustainable fashion who avidly reuses discarded materials, and Belgian fashionista Olivier Theyskens. Exploring the future of materials and making, Manufaktur represents another step forward as Swarovski, now in its 125th anniversary year, continues to situate itself a cut above the competition.