So how exactly does one push the boundaries of a resilient mineral like crystal? Swarovski has been collaborating with designers to create fashion, jewellery, architecture and design for 15 years, creating tools and methods to refresh the shapes, colours and even curves of this ice-like material. Atelier Swarovski Home will be available for the first time this autumn, and mind-bending technologies abound.
There’s a distinctly Northern European bent to this inaugural group of designers. Fredrikson Stallard’s Glaciarium replicates giant fractured ice cubes, never to melt by their resident candles. Norwegian Kim Thomé, whose crystal Zotem dominated the atrium of London’s V&A last year, makes plinths topped with crystal wings that resemble digital trees with platinum or onyx trunks. Aldo Bakker presents puzzle vases made of crystal in soft rose pastels, and marble in gentle greys that slot together to shield a single stem.
The showstopper is the late Zaha Hadid’s Crista, a centrepiece referencing the crystallisation process in nature. It uses the new wave cut technique created by a machine ten years in the making. Curves are shaved and crystal meets metal in a fiercely triumphant work.
While there are more predictable signature pieces, like the starry vases and caviar bowls from Tord Boontje, overall the collection is strongly modern.
Coloured bonding is a clever illusion-maker that transforms Spaniard Tomás Alonso’s confident Prisms from clarity to pop of colour depending on your viewpoint, with the neat tray a desirable objet d’art. A multifaceted first outing for Swarovski.