hen imagery, imagination and illusion commune to alter perception, the resultant reality is a piece of art. Or at least, that’s the way to interpret Japanese artist Kusama Yayoyi’s Infinity Mirror Rooms series. It’s little wonder then that crystal colossus Swarovski chose to unveil its new Manufaktur at the same time it unveiled the famed Yayoyi’s new installation-Chandelier of Grief, part of her Infinity Mirror Rooms-at the brand’s museum, Swarovski Crystal Worlds (Swarovski Kristallwelten) in its hometown of Wattens. If the surreal artwork creates a sensual and spatial experience to hypnotic effect, Swarovski’s new crystal atelier has been similarly future-proofed to push the boundaries of creativity.
Bringing the past present into the future perfect
The new 7,000 sq metre Manufaktur is perched smack in the middle of the grounds of the existing family-run factory, and offers a small-scale version of Swarovski’s entire production process-all under one roof. What it offers is a rapid prototyping process of new crystal shapes and cuts, where new products are made and special projects from lighting to art installations are produced and co-designed with clients from scratch, with greatly reduced lead-times. The idea is to transform the clients’ ideas into real crystal objects with a short turnaround time so that they can actually return home with a prototype of their ideas crystallised into actual creations intact with the intended product’s true sparkle, touch and feel.
“I focus more on the processes that we offer clients-high quality inspiration which we co-develop with our clients-for which we have designed the Manufaktur since crystal can take you anywhere. The beauty lies in the context friendliness of crystal and the potential the material has to amplify or catalyse any kind of creative expression,” says Markus Langes-Swarovski, Member, Executive Board.
From fashion to jewellery to architecture and art and even precision tools,” the exigencies of product and processes that go in, whether working on a solitaire ring or a chandelier are the same, which makes luxury more inclusive and the kind of sneak peak we are now offering at the Manufaktur with the number and intensity of the steps involved will give you a different appreciation for the product and what it takes to produce it,” he adds.
Indeed, with quality and versatility as lead markers, the repertoire of products from the Swarovski stable has only grown. In fact in India, Swarovski has even launched Confluence, a designer collective. This is a B2C model and under this platform, the brand has partnered with 16 of the top designers (couture, fashion and jewellery), to create jewellery with Swarovski crystals to increase the brand’s share of the jewellery retail pie. “With this offering, we are able to offer jewellery catered to Indian tastes and occasions, for the first time ever. The designer panel includes industry veterans such as Tarun Tahiliani, Rohit Bal, Suneet Varma, JJ Valaya from the couture side, along with classical jewellery designers such as Amrapali, Suhani Pitti, Eina Ahluwalia, Isharya as well as contemporary fashion designers such as Shivan Narresh and Nida Mahmood among others,” says Vivek Ramabhadran, Vice President, South Asia and Africa, Swarovski.
Crystal ball gazing
As for what the future holds for the brand, Langes seems content to take it one day at a time. He says, “Times are so volatile that planning anything beyond 18 months is not really practical,” but with Swarovski already working with lab diamonds and work underway on licensed agreements with both Donna Karan and Karl Lagerfeld, clearly the brand’s vision is forward focussed. “If that goes well, we may extend it to other houses of fashion as well, says Langes.” If you consider the pedigree of the past