In its first year, the Designers of the Future line-up featured Tomás Alonso, Studio Swine and Elaine Yan Ling Ng. And it was in Wattens that Alonso found himself fascinated by the importance of the 47° cut in crystal-cutting technology — a crucial angle at which light reflects or refracts through crystal, a phenomenon that his ensuing 47° collection of crystal lights, desk accessories and mirrors pays homage to. Fusing precision-cut crystal, colored UV glues and foil, they emanate rich, iridescent effects.
This annual forum has gathered momentum over the years. In 2016, Anjali Srinivasan created an interactive, 1.6m-long undulating wave whose touch-sensitive technology caused it to glow when caressed; Studio Brynjar & Veronika took the familiar window blind but animated it with prismatic crystal slats that cast rainbow-like reflections. Sound artist Yuri Suzuki pushed the envelope with his handmade crystal elements that produced harmonious vibrating sounds when struck by brass hammers.
Since then, an impressively international roster of other up-and-coming designers have received the sought-after award, with sustainability at the heart of their creations. In 2017 laureate, designer and architect Jimenez Lai, worked with upcycled Swarovski crystals to create a sustainable ‘Terrazzo Palazzo’. That same year, Marjan Van Aubel’s solar-powered ‘Cyanometer’ captured the energy of the sun and transformed it through a stunning chandelier of opal-colored Swarovski crystal, paving the way for the next generation of sustainable solar lighting. A collection of Cyanometer pendant, wall and floor lamps was then commercially developed and is available at swarovski-lighting.com.
By 2019, it was the turn of Dutch design duo Studio Klarenbeek & Dros, whose Reorient: Arctic Collection featured a series of vases, decorative trays and candle holders made in 3D printed glass at Swarovski's factory in Austria. Inspired by geographical surveys of shrinking arctic ice, the objects are designed to draw attention to the rapid reduction of the ice caps from 1980 to 2018. and signal the need for change for the sake of future generations.
And the experience doesn’t just end at Basel. Once showcased at Design Miami/ Basel, many of these imaginative products, including those by Alonso and Studio Brynjar & Veronika have been incorporated into Atelier Swarovski lifestyle ranges, available to purchase through Swarovski’s online shop and selected stores. With its commitment to next generation talent and sustainable design, Swarovski continues to stay true to its founder Daniel Swarovski’s extraordinary visions of the future.