Crystal clear: Swarovski’s Designers of the Future unveil dazzling designs in Basel

Dim lit gallery with crystal objects
Swarovski unveils the second instalment of their Designers of the Future initiative at Design Miami/ Basel revealing three new crystal-related projects
(Image credit: Mark Cocksedge)

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.

Wave of coloured crystal glass

Glass artist Anjali Srinivasan created an installation inspired by human gestures. Her monumental crystal wave is supported by a six-metre tall mesh structure supporting 3,000 Swarovski crystals and 5,000 pieces of glass

(Image credit: Mark Cocksedge)

Touch sensitive panel of black crystals

The project 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

(Image credit: Mark Cocksedge)

Curved frames holding crystal glass objects

Japanese sound artist Yuri Suzuki explored the material from an acoustic point of view, merging his practice with the Swarovski signature product

(Image credit: Mark Cocksedge)

Close up view of golden frames holding glass vases

His mechanical, interactive ‘crystallophone’ is composed of 16 brass mechanical ‘notes’, each featuring a handmade crystal form and representing tones from C1 to D3

(Image credit: Mark Cocksedge)

Interior decoration of crystal glass wall hanging

Studio Brynjar & Veronika present ‘Currents’, an installation that puts light in conversation with crystal and brings the material to a domestic environment while exploring new uses and applications for it

(Image credit: Mark Cocksedge)

Close up view of crystal wall art reflecting light

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

(Image credit: Mark Cocksedge)

Two sticks reflecting light

A collection of crystal sticks explore the transparency of the gems through light

(Image credit: Mark Cocksedge)

INFORMATION

Swarovski's Designer of the Future award runs until 19 June at Design Miami/Basel, for more information, visit the website (opens in new tab)

Photography: Mark Cocksedge

Rosa Bertoli was born in Udine, Italy, and now lives in London. Since 2014, she has been the Design Editor of Wallpaper*, where she oversees design content for the print and online editions, as well as special editorial projects. Through her role at Wallpaper*, she has written extensively about all areas of design. Rosa has been speaker and moderator for various design talks and conferences including London Craft Week, Maison & Objet, The Italian Cultural Institute (London), Clippings, Zaha Hadid Design, Kartell and Frieze Art Fair. Rosa has been on judging panels for the Chart Architecture Award, the Dutch Design Awards and the DesignGuild Marks. She has written for numerous English and Italian language publications, and worked as a content and communication consultant for fashion and design brands.