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Swarovski Designers of the Future 2017

TAKT PROJECT’s 3D-printed crystals, Marjan van Aubel’s jewel-like solar cells, and Jimenez Lai’s surfacing made of upcycled crystals are the future-proof Swarovski winners.

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Photography by Mark Cocksedge

The winners of this year’s Swarovski Designers of the Future Award have gone above and beyond our expectations of crystals, showing that crystals can be 3D-printed, enhance the efficiency of solar cells, and imbue architectural surfaces with magical properties. The winners were announced during Milan Design Week in April and installed their completed prototypes at Design Miami/ Basel in June.

Breaking the typical format of each designer having their own installation, this year the Los Angeles-based Jimenez Lai applied his award-winning surface material to a palazzo-style pavilion that showed off all three winners’ work. By incorporating upcycled second-grade crystals that don’t make it past Swarovski’s quality control, the surface can emit different hues. In the pavilion, these hues were chosen to distinguish the different designers work.

“Architecture for me is all about telling stories. Being able to truly understand the rich history of Swarovski through my visit to Wattens was crucial to creating an installation that reaches both back in time, but also into our future,” said Lai, who founded Bureau Spectacular. “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.”

Hailing from Tokyo, TAKT PROJECT worked with MICRON3DP to realise the world’s first 3D-printed crystals. In order to show off the potential of 3D printing in achieving previously unfathomable shapes and textures, the delicate vases and candlestick holders with 1.5mm thick walls suggest ephemeral frost crystals. Moreover, it is the unique way that crystals reflect and refract light that offers a designer the opportunity to ‘print’ light.

“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,” said Satoshi Yoshiizumi of TAKT. “Working with Swarovski and MICRON3DP to create this new art form – printing 3D Crystal – has been an exciting, creative process.”

Referencing the 18th-century tool to measure the colour intensity of the sky, Cyanometer comprises three living light objects by Dutch designer Marjan van Aubel. A portable crystal solar panel that is reminiscent of jewellery has been designed to be carried by the user throughout the day. A plano-convex crystal specially developed by Swarovski enhances the solar cell efficiency significantly. Once at home at night, the stored energy can be used power LED light sources.

“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,” Van Aubel, who was also supported by the Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands, commented. “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.”

Swarovski Designers of the Future 2017 Design Basel
Swarovski Designers of the Future 2017 Design Basel
Jimenez Lai
Jimenez Lai
Terazzo Palazzo by Jimenez Lai
Terazzo Palazzo by Jimenez Lai
Terazzo Palazzo by Jimenez Lai
Terazzo Palazzo by Jimenez Lai
Terazzo Palazzo by Jimenez Lai
Terazzo Palazzo by Jimenez Lai
Cyanometer by Marjan van Aubel
Cyanometer by Marjan van Aubel
Cyanometer by Marjan van Aubel
Cyanometer by Marjan van Aubel
Marjan van Aubel
Marjan van Aubel
Cyanometer by Marjan van Aubel
Cyanometer by Marjan van Aubel
Satoshi Yoshiizumi of TAKT PROJECT
Satoshi Yoshiizumi of TAKT PROJECT
Ice Crystal by of TAKT PROJECT
Ice Crystal by of TAKT PROJECT
Ice Crystal by of TAKT PROJECT
Ice Crystal by of TAKT PROJECT
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