the 2017 winners of the swarovski ‘designers of the future’ award are presenting their work at design miami/ basel. jimenez lai, marjan van aubel and takt project have each crafted a new prototype or design statement using swarovski’s resources. united under the theme ‘shaping societies’, the installation includes pieces made using 3D crystal printing, works involving innovative solar cell technology, and an architectural tableau of upcycled material surfaces. the designers’ individual concepts are presented together in one complete environment at design miami/ basel, forming an engaging mix of formal and technological expressions.


the designers’ individual concepts are presented together in one complete environment at design miami/ basel
image by mark cocksedge

 

 

one of the three swarovski designers of the future is jimenez lai. the LA-based designer was asked to create a unifying installation that would house all of the concepts presented at design miami/ basel. lai, inspired by the idea of reusing, reducing and upcycling, worked with swarovski’s ‘second quality’ crystal — materials which have not passed stringent quality control tests — to create an immersive architectural environment. ‘terrazzo palazzo’ is formed by a series of colorful, freestanding structures, with shapes that relate to a 24-hour cycle within a typical home. 


‘terrazzo palazzo’ forms an architectural environment within the fair setting
image by mark cocksedge

 

 

‘architecture for me is all about telling stories,’ lai explains.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. 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.’


‘second quality’ crystal, which has not passed swarovski’s stringent quality control, has been used
image by mark cocksedge

swarovski design miami basel
jimenez lai was asked to design an installation to unify the swarovski designers of the future’s concepts

swarovski design miami basel
shapes relate to a 24-hour cycle within a typical home

swarovski design miami basel
the installation is drawn from the idea of reusing, reducing and upcycling

 

 

dutch designer marjan van aubel worked closely with the swarovski team to design a series of three living light objects. realized with the help of the energy research centre of the netherlands, van aubel’s ‘cyanometer’ harnesses sunlight via a portable crystal solar panel that can be carried throughout the day. this unit — made from a solar cell integrated within a facetted plano-convex crystal developed by swarovski — collects and directs the refracted light to enhance the efficiency of the solar cell technology. the energy stored is then used to power the light sources.


energy collected via a crystal solar panel is used to power the ‘living’ light sources
image by mark cocksedge

 

 

van aubel’s light pieces are inspired by the form of a cyanometer — a device used to measure the intensity of the sky’s color. ‘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 says. ‘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.’


the ‘cyanometer’ harnesses sunlight via a portable crystal solar panel
image by mark cocksedge

swarovski design miami basel
marjan van aubel worked closely with swarovski to design the series of light objects

swarovski design miami basel
various stages of research and development 

swarovski design miami basel
the three light pieces are inspired by the form of a cyanometer, invented in 1789

swarovski design miami basel
a render indicates how the colors of ‘cyanometer’ are replicated with swarovski opal crystal and LED technology

 

 

tokyo-based takt project has developed ‘ice crystal’ while working alongside 3D printing company micron3DP. marking a ground-breaking development in 3D printed crystal technology, the series of candlestick holders and vases is drawn from the precise cutting and polishing techniques used by swarovski. recalling the formation of frost crystals on the ground, the walls of the pieces are a mere 1.5mm thick. at the forefront of crystal innovation, swarovski identified the micron3DP machine in tel aviv as the only one capable of printing such intricate designs.


takt project developed ‘ice crystal’ while working alongside a 3D printing company
image by mark cocksedge

 

 

‘working with swarovski and micron3DP to create this new art form – printing 3D crystal – has been an exciting, creative process,’ satoshi yoshiizumi, lead designer at takt project, explained. ‘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.’


the collection marks a ground-breaking development in 3D printed crystal technology
image by mark cocksedge

swarovski design miami basel
the silhouettes recall the formation of frost crystals on the ground

swarovski design miami basel
the walls of the pieces are a mere 1.5mm thick

swarovski design miami basel
stages of research indicate the studio’s creative process 

swarovski design miami basel
the series of candlestick holders and vases is drawn from precise cutting and polishing techniques

 

 

 

 

design miami/ basel is a global forum for design, where the world’s leading galleries gather to present museum-quality exhibitions and installations of furniture, lighting and art objects. held annually every june in basel, switzerland, the show balances commercial opportunities with cultural programming — from a platform of panels and lectures ranging from design, architecture, art and fashion; to special commissions from both emerging and established creatives.

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