Snøhetta brings a 21st-century approach to Swarovski’s production facilities

Swarovski’s production facilities
Swarovski’s Manufaktur in Wattens, Austria has completed, to a design by Norwegian architects Snøhetta.
(Image credit: David Schreyer)

If the idea of manufacturing and production facilities brings to mind closed, dark industrial spaces and a dark-box process, think again. Snøhetta’s latest project, Swarovski Manufaktur in Wattens, Austria, breaks all the rules of what an industrial space could look like. 

The structure, which is part of the crystal specialist’s larger HQ and campus in the Tyrolian countryside, was conceived to house both production and creative processes; and most importantly merge the two – bringing makers, designers and clients together for co-creating sessions that open up the whole process of innovation. 

The space is as welcoming as its purpose suggests. Large, open spaces feature manufacturing lines alongside drawing boards and offices. A centrally placed, dramatic staircase acts as a key circulation core, but also doubles as a meeting space and main ‘forum’ at the heart of the facility.

Swarovski campus and worldwide headquarters

Part of the Swarovski campus and worldwide headquarters, Manufaktur presents a new approach to 21st century manufacturing facilities. 

(Image credit: David Schreyer)

The interiors are bright, clean and filled with natural light. Sun shines through the building’s glass-lined sides, but also the ceiling, through openings known as ‘cassettes’. The white steel ceiling incorporates 135 such openings, coated with special material to ensure there is no glare. On top of this, the building meets the criteria of the LEED Gold Standard (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) for sustainability.

‘We tried not to interpret the physical properties of crystals in our building geometry’, explains Snøhetta’s Patrick Lüth. ‘Instead, we have tried to understand what makes crystal so special and attractive, and to use these ephemeral qualities to create a specific atmosphere. The space has an incredible amount of daylight penetration which we believe is unparalleled in the typical production facility context. Crystals only come to life with light, so for us it is the intense presence of that daylight that is the most important aesthetic aspect of this building.’

Swarovski’s production facilities with large open space

The interior is flooded with daylight and features large, open plan spaces.

(Image credit: David Schreyer)

Swarovski’s production facilities of contemporary office

The building merges fabrication with the creative process in a single space. 

(Image credit: David Schreyer)

Everything you want is on the other side of fear

The innovative spatial approach means that Swarovski provides new opportunities to work together with customers. 

(Image credit: David Schreyer)

Staircase towards Swarovski’s production facilities

Co-creation, rapid prototyping and representation are all catered for in this state-of-the-art production facility. 

(Image credit: David Schreyer)

Swarovski’s production delegates meeting point

A large open staircase also serves as a meeting point, reflecting the building’s design fexilibity. 

(Image credit: David Schreyer)

A contemporary office model

Daylight enters through the building’s sides, but also its ceiling.

(Image credit: David Schreyer)


For more information, see the Snøhetta website

Ellie Stathaki is the Architecture & Environment Director at Wallpaper*. She trained as an architect at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece and studied architectural history at the Bartlett in London. Now an established journalist, she has been a member of the Wallpaper* team since 2006, visiting buildings across the globe and interviewing leading architects such as Tadao Ando and Rem Koolhaas. Ellie has also taken part in judging panels, moderated events, curated shows and contributed in books, such as The Contemporary House (Thames & Hudson, 2018), Glenn Sestig Architecture Diary (2020) and House London (2022).