Swarovski Designers of the Future @ Salone Milan 2015

Swarovski Designers of the Future @ Salone Milan 2015

rodman primack designers of the future award ceremony

The winners of the Swarovski Designers of the Future 2015 award were announced during Milan Design Week, at a glamorous lunch event overlooking the famous Duomo in Milan

Organised by Design Miami / Art Basel, a large group of excited design media, design experts and previous winners gathered to hear who had been chosen

The award was established in 2006 and recognises young designers and studios working with new processes and materials.

Past winners include architect Asif Khan, creator of last year’s Radiant Lines installation in Melbourne’s Federation Square, designer Philippe Malouin, creator of the Caeserstone movements installation, Max Lamb ( exercises in seating ) and Bethan Laura Wood.


Rodman Primack, Executive Director of Design Miami/ outlined the background to this prestigious prize and Suzanne Trocmé announced the winners:

Hong Kong’s Elaine Ng Yan Ling and London-based Tomás Alonso and Studio Swine scooped up the prestigious prize, which will see the young talents collaborate with Swarovski to produce works for the 10th anniversary edition of Design Miami/ Basel (16-21 June).

The winning designers had been selected by a jury of leading figures in the design world, including Wallpaper* Editor-in-Chief Tony Chambers, Swarovski‘s Nadja Swarovski, fuseproject founder Yves Behar, ECAL director Alexis Georgacopolous, and designer and critic Jonathan Olivares

studio swine with cyril zammit

Studio Swine ( Azusa Murakami and Alexander Groves ) with Cyril Zammit

The award acknowledges emerging studios and designers who are actively expanding design culture through experimentation with cutting-edge technologies

The award is known as an annual indicator of the most exciting names to watch in the industry

Rodman Primack, executive director of Design Miami/, spoke of the significance of the prize to the artists and the design community as a whole….. “This year’s winners are perfect examples of the kind of talent we are eager to shine a light on; they experiment with materials, push the traditional boundaries of design and bring fresh energy and ideas to the collectible design market.


Swarovski replaced W Hotels as the sponsor of the scheme.

Although Swarovski has been a long-standing commercial supporter of Design Miami/ Art Basel, this is the first time that the company has sponsored the award.

Whereas previously W Hotels have asked winners to create a piece that responds to a set brief, Swarovski’s version is open, with no brief having been given.

swarovski wattems, austria

The winners were invited to visit Wattens, Swarovski’s headquarters in Austria, to be immersed in the history of crystal manufacture and explore the company’s cutting edge technology.

Despite the designers being given the freedom to work with whichever materials they wished, all three have chosen to base their designs on Swarovski crystal after having visited Swarovski’s HQ to develop their projects.

The designers are currently working on projects which were inspired by the visit and the final pieces will be revealed at an exhibition within Design Miami/ Art Basel 10th anniversary edition from June 16-21.

Whilst the exact details of each designer’s concept will not be revealed until the fair in mid-June, each of the designers discussed their plans for the project at the Milan lunch event.

swarovski wattens austria 2

The designers (left to right) Tomás Alonso, Elaine Yan Ling Ng and Studio Swine’s Azuza and Alex.

Nadja Swarovski, said: “ Fostering creative collaboration and supporting emerging talent has been at the core of Swarovski’s success for 120 years, and it’s a pleasure to support a new generation of designers as they bring their unique skill and vision to this exciting design forum ”.

We look forward to honoring the exceptional young designers whose pioneering vision, adventurous projects and dazzling creativity will make a real impact in years to come.”




Tomás Alonso  ( UK )

tomas alonso

Tomás Alonso is a cosmopolitan craft designer

London-based, Spanish designer Tomás Aloso is a member of OKAY Studio and is known for his unexpected use of materials, particularly metal and marble.

He is influenced by the pioneers of the Modern Movement, from Weimar to Milan.

He eventually moved to London to study for an MA at the Royal College of Art after an entire decade of research and professional practice in the USA, Australia and Italy.

lines and waves

His exposure to international design practices merged into a clear and pragmatic vision which has produced elegant, linear and poetic objects.



Study Tour to Swarovski HQ at Wattens, Austria

08_Swarovski 3

tomas alonso at wattens

tomas alonso at wattens 2

” I’ve looked at the 47° angle, which is the angle at which light that enters a crystal goes from being reflected to refracted.

When I started looking at this project I was very interested in colour and what happens to light when it goes through a crystal and the colours that can be generated inside.

We’re looking into quite basic shapes, but they’ll still give you the magic you get from looking at crystals.

You see all these reflections and things going on. Even though the shapes will be quite basic and simple, what’s going inside is creating quite a lot of drama with this angle playing with reflection, seeing through, not-seeing through, colours. ”

Tomas-researching at wattens

“I do try to push the way I work with materials.

What I find interesting in terms of working with a new company is finding the techniques they have to manipulate a material and then finding something within what they do from a different angle.

In this case it will be something like that.”

tomas alonso studio



Swine Studio  ( UK )

studio swine

Studio Swine (Super Wide Interdisciplinary New Explorers) is an Anglo-Japanese design studio, which examines the role of design in the modern day, the power of the vernacular and the future of resources in luxury design.

Studio Swine, founded by Royal College of Art graduates Alexander Groves and Azusa Murakami, is itinerant and bases the majority of its projects on vernacular design discovered during expeditions to countries such as Brazil and China.

studio swine works (2)

The practice centers on the notion of research-led design that is the product of a region, its culture and resources.

Operating across a wide range of disciplines, Studio Swine has worked with various clients such as Veuve Clicquot, Microsoft, Heineken and those who seek imaginative and visionary ways of developing their brand messages, whether through product, interiors or unique commissions.

studio swine works (1)



Study Tour to Swarovski HQ at Wattens, Austria

wattens swarovski studio swine


” We went to Wattens, which is an extraordinary place.

It was quite challenging for us as a studio, because we’re often about transforming materials through design and make something undesirable desirable.

Then you’re given a material that is highly highly desirable.

The artist Robert Ryman says the challenge every painter has is that he opens a paint tin and has to ask if he’s going to make something more beautiful than what’s in the tin.”

wattens swarovski

” We’ve been focused on the XERO chaton, which is the smallest production crystal in the world.

It’s less than 0.7mm big and it’s made for the watch industry.

We don’t have a signature or house style, but we do have a house approach and that’s been applied to this project: we’re interested in adventure and expedition.

It’s Swarovski’s 120th anniversary this year, so they brought out the XERO chaton, which celebrates that it took 120 years of innovation to get to the point where you can make something this small.

They wouldn’t show us any production of it, it’s top secret. I don’t know how they hold on to this thing to even cut it. “

studio swine wattens swarovski (1)



Elaine Yan Ling Ng ( HK )


Elaine Yan Ling Ng is a British-Chinese materialologist, and a graduate of Central Saint Martins in London, where she earned her MA Design in Textile Futures with distinction.

She is the founder of The Fabrick Lab, brings together textiles, electronics, biomimicry, interiors and installations

She is a TED fellow and is globally recognized, having worked with international design companies such as Nissan Design Europe and Nokia Design Beijing.

Elaine Ng (2)

Her work has been exhibited at V&A and Science Museum in London; Textiel Museum, Tilburg; Harbour Front Centre in Toronto; Espace EDF Art Foundation in Paris and Wuhao, Beijing, and Moleskine global galleries.

Her art and design research has been featured in publications that include Wired UK, Elle Decoration China, Surface Asia, AD Italia, AD China, and Core 77 and many more.

Elaine Ng 3


Study Tour to Swarovski HQ at Wattens, Austria



” When I was told about Designers of the Future I was wondering a lot about how I could use crystal in my textiles, because crystal can look overdone on a garment and false.

But the trip to Wattens has changed my mindset.

When we were at Wattens we were all looking at what crystal could be and looking into the materials and projects that have never been seen before, which is inspiring.

For me, crystal is an ingredient rather than a product itself.

I’m working with it as an ingredient in a recipe and breaking it down to make it easier for me to utilise it. I’m looking at how you could turn crystal into a fluid form. ”

wattens 2

” My project is about kinetics and biomimetics.

I’m inspired by a particular type of plant called the sundew, which is an insect eater. The beauty of it is that the insect is a prey for the plant, but the plant gives out this sweet scent to lure it in. The insect gets stuck and plant melts its proteins, which then become a nutrient for it.

I’m mimicking the kinetics of that process, with crystal as the key component.”



Design-Miami-Basel-10-years b


May 7th 2014

Design Miami/and Swarovski announce a three year partnership to present the coveted Designers of the Future Award and exhibition in Basel, Switzerland

The award will be presented by Swarovski starting June 2015 to 2017

The Designers of the Future Award, which began in 2006, honours emerging designers and studios that are expanding the field of design

The Award moves beyond pure product and furniture design to acknowledge technologically and conceptually vanguard pieces that work across multiple disciplines, offering the next generation of design creatives the opportunity to present newly commissioned works to an influential audience of collectors, dealers, and journalists at Design Miami/ Basel.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with Swarovski on the Designers of Future Award; not only because they’ve been supportive friends and collaborators to Design Miami/ for many years, but also as Swarovski has been an important force in supporting creative talent in the design world,” said Rodman Primack, Executive Director of Design Miami/

“This partnership is a natural fit and will allow us to realize the full promise and potential of the Designers of the Future program – we look forward to the exciting years ahead.”

Swarovski has been an integral Main Sponsor of Design Miami/ since 2008, contributing to the fair program with the support of newly commissioned installations by influential designers and architects including: Ross Lovegrove, Greg Lynn, Troika, Fredrikson Stallard, Erwin Redl, Eyal Burstein, Asif Khan and Guilherme Torres.

The Designers of the Future Award is a natural evolution for Swarovski, and reflective of its mission to support emerging talent from the worlds of architecture, design, art and technology,  constantly redefining the use of crystal as a material for expression

About Design Miami

Design Miami/ is the global forum for design. Each fair brings together the most influential collectors, gallerists, designers, curators and critics from around the world in celebration of design culture and commerce.

Occurring alongside the Art Basel fairs in Miami, USA each December and Basel, Switzerland each June, Design Miami/ has become the premier venue for collecting, exhibiting, discussing and creating collectible design.

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