in western austria, snøhetta builds swarovski a 'crystal workshop for the 21st century'
 

in western austria, snøhetta builds swarovski a 'crystal workshop for the 21st century'

snøhetta has completed a new building for swarovski, which merges the austrian company’s design, product development, and production into a single facility. billed as a ‘crystal workshop for the 21st century’, the scheme has been designed for creative co-creation, rapid prototyping and representation. the architects say that the facility — located in wattens, austria — allows the company to ‘align creative visionary processes with technical production requirements’.

snohetta swarovski manufaktur
all images © david schreyer

 

 

‘the swarovski manufaktur sets a new standard for inclusive fabrication facilities,’ says kjetil trædal thorsen, founding partner of snøhetta. ‘bringing clients, designers, artists, researchers, machine operators, technicians and the public into one space under one roof is going to change how we think about these relationships in the future.’

snohetta swarovski manufaktur

 

 

‘we tried not to interpret the physical properties of crystals in our building geometry,’ explains patrick lüth, managing director of snøhetta’s studio in innsbruck. ‘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.’

snohetta swarovski manufaktur

 

 

daylight enters through openings in the ceiling, known as ‘cassettes’. this ceiling construction comprises 135 openings covered with a protective solar coating that allows daylight to enter gently into the building. the self-supporting white steel ceiling consists of a repetitive 6×3-meter pattern with a slightly skewed grid. importantly, the ceiling structure integrates all necessary building services.

snohetta swarovski manufaktur

 

 

the facility’s walls are painted white, while light birch wood panels cover the floor. a large open staircase, which also serves as a meeting point and arena, provides access to the main floor from the wooden platform which is structurally suspended from the ceiling. offices, showrooms, and presentation rooms are integrated into this wooden sculptural and gallery-like structure. these rooms are enclosed by glass walls and the interior is dominated by materials such as oak wood, brass, stained glass and a variety of textiles.

snohetta swarovski manufaktur

 

 

at the manufaktur, the entire production process of the swarovski crystal is reproduced on a small scale: the main floor contains all the machines necessary to produce prototypes or small crystal series in the shortest possible amount of time. should technical standards or specifications change, the flexibility of the main floor provides enough space to allow for production to be rearranged to meet the latest technological requirements.

snohetta swarovski manufaktur

 

 

a raised floor provides flexibility and space for necessary technical equipment and cables. meanwhile, a ‘chandelier hole’ — an open space plunging from the main floor and down to the basement — allows for prototypes up to 14 meters high to be assembled and tested on-site.

snohetta swarovski manufaktur

snohetta swarovski manufaktur

snohetta swarovski manufaktur

snohetta swarovski manufaktur

 

 

project info:

 

architecture: snøhetta – innsbruck
interior architecture: snøhetta – innsbruck, carla rumler, cultural director swarovski
lighting: martin klingler – moosbach, sally story – london
HVAC: ATP architekten ingenieure, innsbruck
electrical engineer: ATP architekten ingenieure, innsbruck
structural engineer: baumann + obholzer, innsbruck
building physics engineer: spektrum, dornbirn

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