Jun 14, 2017 | By Tess

While most of us may associate Swarovski crystals with classic jewelry and fancy chachkis, the crystal producer is surprisingly forward-thinking. With its recent Swarovski Designers of the Future awards, the company celebrated a number of innovative uses for its crystals, including 3D printed crystal vases, crystal terrazzo tiles, and even solar panels.

The Designers of the Future awards has been sponsored by Swarovski since 2015, and has promoted crystal as a material for a range of new technologies and applications. For this year’s competition, designers were asked to focus on three innovative areas in particular: 3D printing, recycling, and renewable energy.

For the 3D printing category, Japanese design studio TAKT Project won top prize for its innovative 3D printed crystal vases. TAKT Project was founded in 2011 by Satoshi Yoshiizumi, a former designer at Oki Sato’s renowned Nendo studio.

For its 3D printed crystal homewares, TAKT Project teamed up with Micron3DP, a Tel Aviv company that is pioneering high-resolution 3D printed glass technology. Together they were able to accomplish something truly remarkable: a series of 3D printed crystal candleholders and vases.

"By printing crystal we can in effect print light, a new way of thinking that will be part of shaping societies in the future," said TAKT Project designers.

According to TAKT Project, the 3D printed crystal-ware is notable for its intricate, ribbed texture, which would be impossible to achieve using traditional processes such as glass molding, blowing, or cutting. The Printed Crystal series was reportedly inspired by frost crystals, and each piece has fragile walls as thin as 1.5 mm.

In the category of recycling, Lai, an architect and founder of LA-based Bureau Spectacular, was recognized for his innovative Terrazzo Pallazzo project. For the project, Lai used second-quality crystals (the ones rejected by Swarovski for its luxury pieces), and transformed them into a series of eye-catching terrazzo tiles.

The colorful crystal tiles (each color inspired by the Designers of the Future) were made with the help of Brent Dzekciorius, founder of Dzek, an Italian tile manufacturer known for its colorful, flecked stone tiles.

Dutch designer Marjan van Aubel was selected by Swarovski as the winner of the renewable energy category for her Cyanometer project, which is powered by a crystal embedded solar panel. Van Aubel specializes in creating solar panels and has been known to integrate them into tables and windows.

For the Swarovski challenge, the Dutch designer created a portable solar cell, made from a solar cell and a crystal, the latter of which reportedly enhances the solar cell’s capability. The crystal solar cell is meant to be carried around during the day and then can power light sources in the evening.

To demonstrate her innovative solar panel creation, Val Aubel created Cyanometer, a series of “living light objects” which come to life through the energy generated from the crystal solar cell.

All three designs are currently being displayed in Basel Switzerland as part of the 2017 Design Miami / Basel expositions. The pieces all fall under this year’s Designers of the Future overarching theme of “Shaping Society.”



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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