Crystal clear: Swarovski's Designers of the Future unveil dazzling designs in Basel
Swarovski presents its second instalment of the Designers of the Future initiative, unveiled today at Design Miami/Basel. Anjali Srinivasan, Studio Brynjar & Veronika and Yuri Suzuki are the recipients of this year’s award, and for the past six months the three studios have worked on a new project with crystal, unveiled in Basel.
Winners were announced in Paris earlier this year, and have since had the opportunity to immerse themselves and their practice in the crystal world of Swarovski, at the company HQ in Wattens, Austria.
Glass artist Anjali Srinivasan created an installation inspired by human gestures. The RISD graduate merged her glass works with Swarovski’s crystal savoir-faire, using the company’s 'Touch Crystal' enriched with touch-sensitive technology to respond to human touch with light. ‘Crystal is a highly engaging material because it is a solid object that creates visual effects that you cannot touch,’ says the designer. Srinivasan created a monumental crystal wave supported by a six-metre tall mesh structure, supporting 3,000 Swarovski crystals and 5,000 pieces of glass that the artist produced at her Dubai studio. The project inspired her to progress this practice towards an exploration of the crossroads between optical and physical phenomena, as well as continuing this work on human-centric design.
Another dynamic interpretation of the material came from Studio Brynjar & Veronika. The Icelandic pair presents ‘Currents’, an installation that puts light in conversation with crystal. With three different elements to their installation, the designers bring crystal to a domestic environment while exploring new uses and applications for it. Their designs instil new life on seemingly mundane household objects: a standard blind is reimagined with prisms to offer rainbow-coloured projections when hit by light, and crystal tiles are designed so that when hit by water they diffuse a liquid reflection of their surroundings. The third and final element sees a collection of crystal sticks which explore the transparency of the gems through light.
Japanese sound artist Yuri Suzuki explored the material from an acoustic point of view, merging his practice with the Swarovski signature product. ‘I was very excited to investigate how the vibrations in crystals can be interpreted as sound,’ says the artist. ‘Exploring the Swarovski archives to look at past innovations was invaluable research.’ His mechanical, interactive ‘crystallophone’ is composed of 16 brass mechanical ‘notes’, each featuring a handmade crystal form and representing tones from C1 to D3. Working closely with Wattens’ engineers, Suzuki’s project is a marvel of art and technology.
‘It is exciting to see a strong new selection of emerging talent from around the globe exploring their visions of future living to create beautiful and thought-provoking new works using crystal,’ comments Nadja Swarovski. The trio of installations, coming together under one roof, give a stunning example of the company’s quest for innovation and an apparently unlimited ability to experiment with their unique material. After seemingly ticking all creative boxes, from fashion to home collections, large-scale installations and micro-crystal creations, their ongoing Design Miami/ commitment of Designers of the Future is a testament to the company’s dedication to research and innovation, and it demonstrates once again that Swarovski is not scared of challenging the impossible.