With the new crys­tal Man­u­fak­tur in Wat­tens, Swarovski has set a whole new stan­dard in terms of prod­ucts, ap­pli­ca­tions and tech­ni­cal ex­per­tise


In­side Swarovski’s new Man­u­fak­tur in Aus­tria

When 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 fam­i­lyrun 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 lead­times. 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 along with pro­cesses of the fu­ture, Swarovski's sparkle saga seems set to rise and shine.

BACK TO THE FU­TURE (Clock­wise from op­po­site page) Swarovski has ex­panded its home in Wat­tens, Aus­tria, with three ma­jor devel­op­ments: Man­u­fak­tur, Cam­pus 311, and the Crys­tal Fac­tory of the fu­ture; Con­tem­po­rary Ja­pa­nese artist Yay­oyi Kusama

SHIN­ING STAR Swarovski's glit­ter­ing im­print holds sway across fash­ion, art and ac­ces­sories

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