Nadja Swarovski, Member of the Swarovski Executive Board, commented: “This year we are delighted to evolve the Swarovski Designers of the Future project to create an exciting collaborative space which explores how crystal and innovative technologies can be used to bring together different design disciplines. We look forward to seeing the creations of this talented, forward-thinking group of designers.”
Encouraging the designers’ imaginative process, Swarovski opened up their historic headquarters in Wattens, Austria to the trio, urging the artists to discover the crystal brand’s legacy of creativity and innovation. Exploring the depths of the company’s archives, design centers, and inventive programs offered the opportunity to breed new creative concepts and objectives.
Establishing the exhibition will be LA-based architect Jimenez Lai with a palazzo-style environment aptly titled ‘Terrazzo Palazzo’. Its architectural shapes will relate to a 24-hour cycle within a typical home, where specific elements of the day are logged and translated into certain colors and geometric profiles. A colorway has been developed by Jimenez for each of the Swarovski Designers of the Future winners, represented by crystal and set within the material to create new architectural surfaces informed by each designer’s previous projects.
The installation will be formed by freestanding structures and constructed with a new pioneering material that incorporates upcycled Swarovski crystal. Influenced by the idea of reusing, reducing, and recycling, this project gives new life to Swarovski crystal, utilizing those which have not passed the brand’s rigorous quality control due to minor imperfections. Jimenez Lai commented: “Second quality crystals are an entirely new material for us to work with, and we’re delighted to have been able to create an innovative surface that sparkles and shines to bring the outside in.”
In an exploration of the ever-growing capabilities of cutting-edge technology, Tokyo-based studio TAKT PROJECT’s series of 3-D printed objects will adorn Lai’s installation, exploring a never before attempted feat with Swarovski crystal. Entitled ‘Ice Crystal’, the objects mimic the formation of frost crystals on the ground and are developed in collaboration with Swarovski and 3D printing company MICRON3DP, producing shapes and surface textures not possible with traditional crystal glass molding, blowing or cutting.
Lead designer at TAKT PROJECT Satoshi Yoshiizumi commented: “Working with Swarovski and MICRON3DP to create this new art form – printing 3D Crystal – has been an exciting, creative process. Our vision is to work on projects that connect or re-shape society. Ice Crystal does this through its re-examination of the possibilities of crystal and light, and we are eager to further explore this relationship through new forms and creations. ”
Illuminating the presentation environment will be a series of three living light objects crafted by Dutch designer Marjan van Aubel in conjunction with Swarovski’s in-house experts on solar technology and with the help of the Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands (ECN). Dubbed ‘Cyanometer’, as influenced by the instrument used to measure the sky’s color intensity, the portable crystal solar panel harnesses sunlight which is then utilized to light sources in the home. Composed of a solar cell integrated within a facetted plano-convex crystal specially developed by Swarovski, the three light pieces are crafted with Swarovski opal crystal to replicate the colors of the original cyanometer device.
Marjan van Aubel commented: “Visiting Wattens to see Swarovski’s innovation team and understand more about its dedication to working in a sustainable way was really inspirational for this project. The form and ideation behind the original Cyanometer and its relationship with the sun and sky has enabled me to develop an aesthetic solution towards a new way of energy harvesting for the future.”
The Swarovski Designers of the Future installation was at Design Miami/Basel from June 13–18 2017.