Interview: Nadja Swarovski's Quest To Increase Sustainability And Globalism In Design

Swarovski, Nadja Swarovski, Sustainability, Design Miami, Designers of the Future Award 2019
Courtesy of Swarovski and Design Miami
A design installation presented at Design Miami during Art Basel
For the fifth consecutive year Swarovski and Design Miami presented design installations by three winners of the award. Nadja Swarovski discusses the importance of championing cross-cultural dialogue through luxury and design

“When we work with young designers we really get that Zeitgeist of the trends of the moment,” says Nadja Swarovski. “What we are seeing with these young designers is a greater interest in sustainability and what we need from them is their creativity and another new way of using crystals.” For the fifth consecutive year Swarovski partnered with Design Miami during Art Basel to unveil the design installations created by the three winners of the Swarovski Designers of the Future Awards 2019, demonstrating once again the brand’s pledge to support emerging designers and creativity.

This year’s winners were Shanghai-based Juju Wang, Dutch duo Studio Klarenbeek & Dros, and British designer Raffe Burrell. They were selected from a pool of international applications for their innovative design approach, responding to briefs focusing on three categories, ‘Architectural Surfaces and Building Materials’, ‘Home Décor’ and ‘Lighting’.


Nadja Swarovski. Courtesy of Swarovski 

For Swarovski, collaborating with these new designers is not only a way to find new methods of working with crystals but also to help a younger generation. “It’s amazing to see how that little bit of recognition or exposure helps to build a career for these young designers,” says Swarovski. “It’s great that they are so international. It’s also wonderful to see that back to perhaps a regimented more structural way of [creating] design really breaks those barriers. Design really is an international platform and that is really powerful.”

The commissions include ‘Sea-cret’ by Juju Wang, a mindful interactive experience; ‘Reorient: Arctic Collection’ by Studio Klarenbeek & Dros, the next phase in 3D-printed Swarovski crystal; and ‘Reflection’ by Raffe Burrell, a striking lighting solution.


Swarovski Designers of the Future Award. Courtesy of Swarovski and Design Miami

As part of the creative process, the winners visited Swarovski’s headquarters in Austria to discover the crystal brand’s creative legacy. There they explored the company’s archives, the new Manufaktur building that promotes Swarovski’s rapid prototyping process and the innovative Lighting and Crystal studios.

Moreover, the designs follow Swarovski’s emphasis on sustainability. “Sustainability is now really powerful in design,” says Swarovski. “Finding the right sustainable material to work with is crucial.”

But how does Swarovski determine whether it is a sustainable material or not? “Internally, we have what we call ‘Clear Compliance’ a method that helps us to measure if materials are sustainable or not. As a big company that has such a large supply chain we can decide from where we buy our products.”


A design installation presented at Design Miami during Art Basel. Courtesy of Swarovski and Design Miami

Showcasing at Design Miami during Art Basel is crucial for the brand. “We focus on fashion weeks, design weeks, and jewellery fairs globally – wherever you can be at the right time to get the attention of the right people,” she adds.

“This is a project in Basel that evolved out of our presence at Salone del Mobile, the most important furniture fair in the world. The collectors that buy the one-of-a-kind design piece are actually art collectors. We float between design and art objects. It’s been so fascinating to see how this design fair has been solely but surely embraced by the art world.”


A design installation presented at Design Miami during Art Basel. Courtesy of Swarovski and Design Miami

‘Sea-cret’, developed by Shanghai-born installation artist Juju Wang, offers the ideal cross-between an artwork and a design object. Its dreamy build explores kinetic architectural facades inspired by the importance of water.

Here viewers can experience how a lively patterned design evokes states of calmness in a space. Surrounded by mirrors to evoke the sensation of endless movement, Wang used 830,000 crystals in five bespoke colorways of Swarovski Crystal Rocks to offer the effect of glistening light on the water’s surface. It was an unforgettable experience.

Swarovski’s Creative Center is located in Dubai Design District (d3) swarovski.com


Watch the making of the Harper's Bazaar Arabia 2012 calendar in association with Swarovski Elements below.

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Swarovski, Nadja Swarovski, Sustainability, Design Miami, Designers of the Future Award 2019
Courtesy of Swarovski and Design Miami
A design installation presented at Design Miami during Art Basel