The future is brilliantTechnology | Ivy Ong-Wood 11 Jul 2019
It seems especially apt for a crystal company to be on the cutting edge of design. Swarovski and Design Miami unveiled installations by the three winners of the Swarovski Designers of the Future Award 2019 at Design Miami/Basel on June 11 to 16.
This year's winners - Shanghai-based Juju Wang, Dutch duo Studio Klarenbeek & Dros, and British designer Raffe Burrell - focused on architectural surfaces and building materials, home decor, and lighting respectively.
As part of the creative process, they visited Swarovski's headquarters in Wattens, Austria to explore the company's archives, the new Manufaktur building that champions Swarovski's rapid prototyping process, and the lighting and crystal studios.
The result were truly futuristic.
Wang's Sea-cret is a large-scale interactive installation which explores kinetic architectural facades inspired by the importance of water.
Using 830,000 Swarovski Crystal Rocks, she recreated the effect of sunlight on water. The installation also features a bespoke soundtrack and calming scent to slow the pace and create a contemplative atmosphere.
She said: "I am very interested in atmosphere and the tranquility of one space. My installation not only looks like the surface of water, it encourages people to be calm, to take a step back and relax, enjoy the moment and then move on with their lives."
Studio Klarenbeek & Dros presented Reorient: Arctic Collection, a series of 3D-printed crystal vases, decorative trays and candle holders to highlight the environmental concern of the melting Arctic icecap.
Acting as building blocks, the objects can be connected to make table-top curios.
The designers used 3D-printed crystal for the first time in Aurora Borealis, Golden Shadow and Silver Shade to emulate the reflections on the Arctic Ocean.
Meanwhile, Burrell's Reflection is a collection of lighting pieces inspired by waterfalls in the mountains that surround Wattens.
The traditional chandelier is given a contemporary twist with 2,608 blue crystals mimicking water drops.
Concealed lights within the black powder-coated structure allow the crystal to sparkle.
The wall lights follow a similar design with 110 blue crystals.
All three works use Swarovski's patented Advanced Crystal, which are lead-free while retaining their brilliance and sparkle.
They are also eco-friendly. A third of Swarovski's energy for crystal production at Wattens comes from renewables while 70 percent of the water used is from recycled sources.
Executive board member Nadja Swarovski said: "It is a pleasure to support and partner with these innovative talents to develop new works for Swarovski as they continue to shape the future of responsible design."