swarovski’s designers of the future propose crystal living at design miami/ basel




at design miami/ basel 2016, swarovski unveils three installations made by this year’s ‘designers of the future’ award winners: anjali srinivasan, yuri suzuki, and studio brynjar & veronika. the laureates visited the crystal brand’s historic base in austria to explore its legacy of creativity and innovation, drawing from the company’s archives, design centers and innovation programs.


for their presentation in basel, the creatives were asked to interpret the theme of ‘betterment’ as it relates to the interaction between people and the built world around them. the resulting projects offer a proposal for future living, ranging from a touch-sensitive illuminating wave, to a sound installation and an exercise in the conversation between crystal and light. 

installation view of ‘unda’ by anjali srinivasan
all images © mark cocksedge




highlighting the importance of bringing light to people’s lives and making it tangible, dubai-based designer anjali srinivasan has realized ‘unda’ for swarovski as a shimmering, rolling wave. the installation’s surface is made up of glass elements developed with touch-sensitive technology. upon human contact, the work responds with glowing illumination: following the finger’s trail, light travels across the crystal façade and slowly fades when the human element is taken away.


at design miami/ basel, ‘unda’ spans 1.6 meters in width and 6 meters in length and features a labyrinth of 3,000 swarovski crystals and 5,000 glass pieces blown in srinivasan’s studio in dubai. the crest comprises 1,500 touch crystals containing LED technology that activate when touched, producing a gradient effect of earthy colors that run through the piece.

the rolling wave surface comprises glass elements developed by srinivasan and swarovski touch crystal




behind each swarovski touch crystal lies a specially developed printed circuit board with LEDs, which — upon contact — transfers human touch to the circuit board and illuminates. srinivasan’s glass casting technique has been designed to emulate the earth’s lithosphere — the geological formation and layering of igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks. minerals were added to clear glass to create the strata, and melted under the conditions of each respective rock formation.


‘crystal is a highly engaging material because it is a solid object that creates visual effects that you cannot touch,’ srinivasan says. ‘I’m looking forward to continuing to explore this crossroads between physical and optical phenomena in my work. I’m also fascinated by the challenge of creating human-centric design, so I’m excited to further explore this relationship between material, data and people.’

installation view of ‘sharevari’ by yuri suzuki at design miami/ basel




exploring the use of crystal as an acoustic medium, japanese sound artist yuri suzuki has created ‘sharevari’, a mechanical, interactive crystallophone. the instrument comprises 16 brass mechanical structures or ‘notes’ that each feature a handmade crystal form, ranging 95-250mm in diameter and representing tones from C1 to D3. when brass hammers hit the crystal, the vibrations are translated into sound.


‘my audience can be quite wide-ranging, from very tech-focused people to musicians, but this is a precious opportunity for me to show and exchange ideas as part of a global design platform,’ suzuki says. ‘I was very excited to investigate how the vibrations in crystals can be interpreted as sound. exploring the swarovski archives to look at past innovations was invaluable research.’

the japanese sound artist explores crystal as an acoustic material




created in collaboration with a team of swarovski’s engineers, ‘sharevari’ has been realized by the calculation of possible harmonic frequencies, where each note is defined by the diameter of the crystal object. the instrument has been fine-tuned through a process of rigorous acid-polishing and frequency testing. at design miami/ basel, original compositions by suzuki can be experienced alongside audience-conducted harmonies.

the instrument comprises 16 brass mechanical structures, or ‘notes’

compositions by suzuki can be experienced alongside audience-conducted harmonies




forming unexpected moments of beauty using natural light and crystal, studio brynjar & veronika has realized ‘currents’ as three distinct elements that bring a sense of the natural world into domestic spaces. ordinary blinds have been made in crystal with 30 bespoke prismatic slats. the fully functional blind creates a rainbow effect when hit by light, bringing reflection and refraction into the home.


‘reflections of water’ is a series of crystal tiles that transform light into reflections. made using a 3D scan of water, the tiles look like liquid crystal and reflect light in the same manner as fluid matter. 

installation view of  ‘currents’ by studio brynjar & veronika




the third element is a series of decorative crystal sticks, which illuminate shadows and explore the transparency of the material. the elements range from 120-180cm and come in a range of color configurations.


‘it’s a sort of a form of alchemy, the way swarovski creates this really beautiful substance from natural materials, yet using these high tech processes,’ the designers say. ‘it’s a mystical, magical place, and it left us feeling really inspired for this project. we love to dive into new mediums and crystal is a whole new challenge.’

the elements bring a sense of the natural world into domestic spaces

a set of decorative crystal sticks illuminate shadows and explore the transparency of crystal

installation view of the swarovski designers of the future award winners at design miami/ basel 

(from left to right) studio brynjar & veronika, yuri suzuki and anjali srinivasan