Swarovski crystal

Swarovski crystal 3D printed, recycled and made into gadgets by designers

The crystal was 3D printed in vases, recycled into terrazzo and channeled into solar panels by the three winners of the Swarovski Designers of the Future 2017 awards.


TAKT Project, Jimenez Lai and Marjan van Aubel are the recipients of this year’s awards, which recognize emerging designers and give them the opportunity to design a new installation for Design Miami / Basel.

Jimenez Lai recycled rejected Swarovski crystal to create his project, Terrazzo Palazzo

This year, the three emerging designers have combined their projects into a single installation, revealed today at the launch of the collection design fair in Basel.

Since Swarovski became the award sponsor in 2015, participants have had to work with crystal as a material while demonstrating an “innovative approach to design and the pioneering use of new technologies”. This year, that translated into a focus on 3D printing, recycling and renewable energies.

Lai, founder of Los Angeles-based studio Bureau Spectacular, recycled rejected second-grade crystal to create his project, Terrazzo Palazzo.

This crystal contains minor imperfections that make them unusable in usual Swarovski pieces, although the flaws are said to be so small that they are invisible to the naked eye.

Swarovski designers of the future

Lai used the crystal to make a terrazzo tile, made in Italy with help from Dzek’s Brent Dzekciorius, which is used to form geometric plinth-like structures in the Miami / Basel facility.

Lai even developed different colors of tiles – one to match each of the designers of the future.

TAKT Project 3D printed crystal in vases and candle holders

Japanese studio TAKT Project, launched in 2011 by former Nendo employee Satoshi Yoshiizumi, explored 3D crystal printing for their project.

The studio has worked with Tel Aviv-based company Micron3DP, which claims to have pioneered high-resolution 3D printed glass (Swarovski crystals are basically high-quality lead glass).

Swarovski designers of the future

TAKT Project used this process to create the Printed Crystal series of candle holders and vases, which have a delicate, ribbed texture that the studio says is not possible with traditional techniques like molding, blowing or cutting. glass.

The shapes are inspired by frost crystals with walls barely 1.5 millimeters thick.

Swarovski designers of the future

“By printing crystal we can indeed print light, a new way of thinking that will be part of the formation of companies in the future,” the studio said.

The third designer to receive this year’s awards is Van Aubel, a Dutch practitioner who works with solar panels and has already integrated them into windows and tables.


Marjan van Aubel integrated a solar panel into a crystal, improving its ability to capture energy from the sun

She started her project by embedding a solar cell into a crystal, which she says enhances the cell’s abilities by helping to direct light into it. It is a small cell designed to be portable, carried by a user during the day, and then used at night to power light sources in their home.

To translate the gadget into interesting objects for installation, Van Aubel produced Cyanometer, a series of three “living light objects” that resemble giant pendants.

Swarovski designers of the future

Named after a device that measures the “blue” of the sky, the lights combine Swarovski crystals with LEDs to reflect the changing colors of the sky throughout the day. They are powered by the energy collected by the Van Aubel crystal solar cell.

All three projects respond loosely to the theme of Shaping Society’s Designers of the Future award this year. The installation will be on display at Design Miami / Basel until June 13.

The photograph is by Mark Cocksedge.


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