one of the most wonderful things about milan design week is all the presentations held in majestic awe-inspiring italian palazzos that you wouldn’t otherwise be able set foot in. the historic palazzo crespi, where atelier swarovski home presented their new collections this week, is one such example.
rarely open to the public, it was a privilege to be able to ascend its marvellous marble staircase and feast my eyes on the stunning frescos, hand-painted ceilings and intricately inlaid floors, many of which date from the 19th century. the palazzo’s exquisite ballroom was certainly the perfect place for atelier swarovski home to unveil their latest innovative designs, which celebrates the brand’s unique crystal artistry by fusing it with a range of complementary materials, including marble, heavy metal and resin. whilst i’m not usually drawn to such opulent decorative accessories, these objets d’art have clean lines and minimal geometrics at their heart, utilised to perfection to create breathtaking light refraction and optical illusionary effects that are simply to die for.
the pieces on display here in milan perfectly embody the common goal of atelier swarovski: to celebrate the collaborations, creativity and crystal innovation which are at the heart of our brand. ~ nadja swarovski
american interior design icon barbara barry has collaborated with swarovski to create a series of multi-functional candle holders and vases in a beautiful range of soft, mellow hues that juxtapose the clarity of crystal with the shimmering opacity of brass and gunmetal effects to create harmonious compositions of colour and light.
raised in a family of painters, barbara acknowledges that she grew up noticing the subtle nuances in the colour and forms in nature, so it seemed a natural step for her designs to be displayed around a styled set-up of a watercolour artist at work. i was immediately drawn to the soft inky blues and golden glow of mimosa yellow being bounced around by the light refracting off the geometric angles of the cut crystal vessels – so beautiful!
every material telegraphs a message…with crystal, it’s clarity. i love the way crystal holds lights and the way it reflects light; the way it sparkles. ~ barbara barry
following the success of his modular vase from atelier swarovski home’s debut collection, dutch designer aldo bakker has now added a collection of multi-faceted bottle stoppers, radiant paperweight lenses and handheld magnifiers to the line. bakker believes that “the beauty of crystal is that it can be both fluid and architectural. ‘bottle stopper’ combines two shapes: the bottom part, which has a fluidity that reflects the bottle and its liquid contents, juxtaposed with the faceted top on which the hand finds a hold, which refers to our architectural surroundings.”
for me, these pieces encapsulate beautifully bakker’s fascination with purity of form and materiality, and achieve the perfect balance of function and beauty – i’d love one of those bottle stoppers for my own dressing table!
the charming coronel collection of turned oak accessories for an at-home bar were created by la-based designer greg lynn, artfully accented with precision-cut stones for an interplay of texture and tone as crystal sparkles from within the natural grained wood.
lynn states that the aim was to “strike a balance between lathe-turned forms and facets; between solid wood-grain pattern of oak and deep reflections and refractions of crystal; creating an elixir of forms and materials.”
i’d certainly say that aim has been achieved here, don’t you agree?
for this collection we wanted to imbue contemporary culture with both historic associations and technical innovation, because designing for atelier swarovski involves being contemporary while acknowledging the century long heritage of the company. ~ greg lynn
i was particularly drawn to the multi-textured lustra collection of boxes, trays and candleholders by new york architect andre kikoski, whose sculptural designs combine copper, nickel and muted bronze tones with faceted crystalline elements to create an intriguing visual dialogue between geometry and form.
“the interplay and refraction of light is what excites us about designing in crystal,” says kikoski, “and we looked to dewain valentine for the strikingly optic properties of his elegant geometric sculptures. the integration of art and architecture is the core of our practice, and we see design as a pure expression of materiality and artistry.”
when crystal is a thick, solid shape it refracts the light and projects colours into the space around in unexpected ways. that’s what we are looking for – certain moments of joy, when the sun hits the crystal, or the feeling when you take the pieces in your hands, and you feel the weight and discover the material. ~ studio brynjar & veronika
german-icelandic duo studio brynjar & veronika presented a series of pure-crystal paperweights in diverting hues, based on their 2016 swarovski designers of the future presentation at design miami / basel.
the studio’s work is often linked to anthropology and geology, and their designs for swarovski were inspired by the contrast of stunning natural surroundings and high-end technological processes they witnessed during their trip to the brand’s headquarters in the austrian market town of wattens.
the resulting sleek polygons have been designed to disperse light in a play of prismatic reflections, revealing hidden currents in the everyday.
also collaborating with atelier swarovski home for a second time, spanish designer tomás alonso has created an evolution of his original collection of contemporary trays, featuring eye-catching crystal prisms with jewel-like coatings set within a marble base to create an array of fascinating light effects.
the contrast of the crystal and marble is simply exquisite and whilst i was naturally inclined to covet the classic monochrome stylistics of a sleek black crystal line set amongst pure white marbling i also found myself strangely drawn by the colour contrast of magenta against the cool white.
what do you think guys – which of these stunning new designs would you most like to have in your home?
a swarovski piece for the home will never just be an everyday object. in a way, it’s like jewellery for the house. ~ tomás alonso
this post is in collaboration with atelier swarovski home. all photography © kate baxter, fabric of my life