Crystal Clear

Jimenez Lai, Marjan van Aubel, and TAKT PROJECT given 2017 Swarovski Designers of the Future Award

Awards International
Jimenez Lai, Marjan van Aubel, and TAKT PROJECT given 2017 Swarovski Designers of the Future Award. Seen here: Jimenez Lai. (Courtesy Injee Unshin)
Jimenez Lai, Marjan van Aubel, and TAKT PROJECT given 2017 Swarovski Designers of the Future Award. Seen here: Jimenez Lai. (Courtesy Injee Unshin)

Swarovski and Design Miami/ have named designers Jimenez Lai, Marjan van Aubel and TAKT PROJECT as the winners of the 2017 Swarovski Designers of the Future Award.

The award, according to a press release, will help the designers advance innovative projects within their individual fields with the aim of developing a “new prototype or design statement that is inspired or informed by crystal.”

The recipients have been commissioned to create new work for exhibition at the 2017 Design Miami / Basel art showcase occurring later this year in Switzerland. Though each of the winners will work on a separate project, the works of all three designers will be exhibited in a singular installation generally focused around the uses of new technologies.

Los Angeles-based Lai—founder of design firm Bureau Spectacular—will focus on exploring design through storytelling in order to create a surface-based installation. Lai will also strive to create an overall architectural character for the installation. In the press release, Lai said, “I’m excited to bring an architectural perspective to this year’s installation. Working with crystal is a stimulating new challenge as it creates a visual quality that is unlike most other materials designers normally use.”

Lai referred his project as a “terrazzo palazzo” at an awards lunch, saying, “I mapped out how much time I spent on various activities throughout the day—eating, sleeping, sitting, etc.—and translated that amount of time into proportions for the design. So, for example, since the vast majority of my time is spent sitting, the majority of the structure can be used for sitting.” Lai added that he would re-use the imperfect Swarovski crystals sorted out of production during quality control inspections for his palazzo, saying, “If we think about ‘reduce, reuse, recycle,’ it actually costs more energy to recycle than reuse. With that in mind, I wanted to take the crystals that were not selected and make a terrazzo. It’s a very malleable architectural product.”

Tokyo-based TAKT PROJECT will partner with glass 3D-printing company MICRON3DP to produce tabletop objects made of 3D-printed Swarovski crystals. When describing the project, Satoshi Yoshiizuofmi of TAKT PROJECT focused on the innovative aspects of the work, saying, “It’s a completely new technology, so the process is very exciting and very experimental.”

And London-based Marjan van Aubel will develop so-called “living light objects” in collaboration with Swarovski’s in-house solar technology experts. At the same awards lunch, van Aubel said, “We are going to take the light from the sky and bring it inside using solar crystals. As a designer, I am really interested in using solar technology and making it more aesthetically pleasing and more integrated.”

For more information on 2017 Design Miami / Basel, see the showcase website.

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