Following a visit to Swarovski’s headquarters in Wattens, Austria, where they had access to the crystal company’s archive and workshops the highly individual responses illustrate the scientific and aesthetic properties of crystal.
At the heart of the award is the spirit of invention and creativity and this year’s winners reveal a diverse range resulting in a table top object collection, a kinetic interactive installation and an exercise in ‘design fiction’,
47˚, developed by Alonso, is a collection of crystal objects – including lights, mirrors and a variety of desk accessories – that celebrate angled cuts and colored effects. During his visit to Swarovski’s headquarters, Alonso was fascinated by the importance of the 47 degree cut – which is the angle at which light either reflects or refracts within crystal.
Combining multiple pieces of precision-cut crystal, with colored UV glues, foilings and effects, Alonso plays with light and color in intriguing ways. “These pieces have been designed as exhibition pieces,” Alonso says. “I have looked into the application of color inside the crystal to create internal and surface effects.” The booth itself features a central floating wall set at 47 degrees.
Elaine Yan Ling Ng’s installation for Swarovski, Sundew, is inspired by the movements of the tiny carnivorous Sundew plant as it pulls its tentacles over an insect, digesting it. The responsive, twisting, lantern-like shapes of the Sundew are constructed from a variety of light, flexible materials, including Ng’s own non-woven textiles fused with Swarovski Crystal Fabric.
“After visiting Wattens I now regard crystal as an ingredient for making new materials, textures and surfaces, and for this project it’s exciting to be combining craft and technology to explore new functions” she explains.
Alongside weaving and material innovations, the commission also sees Ng adapt bio structures from nature into interactive elements. The booth is diffused with a narrative of two scents, the first entitled Entice which represents the sweet allure of the Sundew for the insects and the second, The Kill, which has rich animalic undertones evoking the capture and kill.
Founded by Japanese architect Azusa Murakami and British artist Alexander Groves, Studio Swine were drawn to Swarovski’s association with cutting edge technology. The project they have devised, entitled Terraforming, creates a fictional world of space travel and exploration.
With the discovery of a new ‘crystal planet’, the studio investigates the challenges of time-keeping in the outer reaches of the galaxy with Dune Clock, a digital hour glass. The commission also features a cymatics table in which they have used the sand-like Swarovski Xero crystal, the world’s smallest precision-cut crystal, to form the imagined planet’s shifting surface.