We've just received images from Tokujin Yoshioka of the new work he is doing for Swarovski Crystal Palace, debuting at Milan Design Week this April. It's so new, that it's not yet on Swarovski's website, but keep tabs if you're going to Milan: exhibition information will be posted soon.
The two pieces share a visual sensibility, but come from different conceptual places. The massive chandelier, "Stella," takes its cues from a star shining outwards, emitting many rays of light in space. The "Venus" chair—this is awesome—is grown in an aquarium bath filled with tiny natural crystals, an extension of an earlier exploration.
To elaborate on both of these, Tokujin sent us a transcript of a Q&A session about this new work:
1. Can you explain the concept behind your design and the inspiration for the idea?
In 2007, I designed a chair entitled "VENUS - Natural crystal chair." This VENUS obtains a structure by having tiny natural crystals grow in an aquarium and makes its appearance with time as if Venus gradually emerges from water. (We put a block of soft polyester fiber in a huge aquarium with a solution, where special mineral is melted in. On the polyester fiber, natural crystal begins to form its structure and continues a gradual grow until "VENUS - Natural crystal chair" is completed.) The new work designed for Swrovski Crystal Palace 2010 is seen as an extension of my research. I wanted to have the idea of the natural crystal chair evolved by using Swarovski crystal.2. What appeals to you about working with crystal?
I am drawn to the beauty, transparency, and poetry of crystals. Crystal is transparent but it catches light and brilliance.
3. What are the challenges of working with crystal?
What is important for me is not just designing another new chandelier with crystal, but to create a star which shines the viewer's heart.
4. Were there any interesting technical challenges with this particular project and how did you resolve them?
The idea of this work is evolved from the chair grown from natural crystal structures. Therefore, my challenge was to incorporate the element of beauty born of coincidence into this new work for Swarovski. It was technically challenging because the unpredictable element found in nature must have been expressed accurately by human.
5. How does this project differ from previous collaborations you have had with
In 2005, I designed a futuristic chandelier entitled "Stardust", which expressed a scene where moving images being projected onto the dark night sky by an infinite particle of lights. Three years later, in 2008, I designed a stool "Eternal". For this work, I had an image of bringing down the star cluster and its brilliant beauty from the sky and sealing them eternally in the transparent lump. This year, I intend to create a star, descended from the sky emitting many rays of light in the space; thus I would like to name this work "Stella".
We especially love this part of the excerpt: "What is important for me is not just designing another new chandelier with crystal, but to create a star which shines the viewer's heart." Thanks, Tokujin.
Lisa is dedicated to promoting the American contemporary design scene. She keeps herself busy as the co-founder of the Object Design League, an association of independent designers in Chicago, and design practice Smith&Linder, both co-founded with Caroline Linder. She also teaches foundation research studios at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.