The winners of this year's Swarovski Designers of the Future competition recently unveiled what they've been up to at Design Miami/Basel. On display as a complete exhibition, the commissioned projects each used Swarovski crystal innovations to explore the theme 'Smart Living'. Crystal definitely isn't the first material that comes to mind when you think of smart tech solutions for the home, so we were fascinated to see the results and learn more about each designers' thought process.
The three winners came up with diverse solutions, each focused on a different area within the broad smart living space. 'Dream Machine'by Dutch designer Frank Kolkman is an ethereal device that explores using neuroscience and crystal technology to help us cope with the cognitive demands of our modern lives. The device generates light and sound patterns that synch with the user's brainwaves to bring them into a state of artificial dreaming. The video below gives a closer look at how the machine is intended to be used:
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Dream Machine represents everything that encompasses the wholistic living trend, from home gyms and yoga studios to excessive skincare routines. As we as a culture continue taking more time out of our days to care for our bodies, why not take time to care for our minds? Through the use of Swarovski crystals, Kolkman's design begins to speak about cognitive health and technology as part of a daily routine and show the potential evolution of future wellness equipment.
'Slanted Tiles'by Dutch and Japanese studio Study O Portable is a series of structures that display the more analogue properties of crystal and light. Instead of going the tech route, designers Bernadette Deddens and Tetsuo Mukai decided to focus on the importance of recognizing things we take for granted in our daily lives. By playing with the blurring color and light that Swarovski crystals emanate, Study O Portable was able to communicate that living an aware life outside of technology also falls under the 'Smart Living' umbrella.
Study O Portable
'Home Shrine'by Yosuke Ushigome is an AI home assistant device that utilizes the mystical material of Swarovski crystals in an attempt to personalize the relationship between man and technology.
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As interaction with smart home devices is shaping the way we communicate, Ushigome's Home Shrine imagines a world where Swarovski crystal inserts a ritualistic aspect to the way we interact with our voice-activated assistants. In addition to its unexpected material and form factor, Home Shrine delivers data in a conversational and ritualistic way that completely counteracts the mundane, robotic exchanges we typically have with smart home devices like Google Home and Amazon Alexa.
"The future is full of tough problems when it comes to our relationship with technology. Designers get to work with emerging technologies before they get embedded deep in our culture, and this can play a tremendous role in shaping our future and imagination." -Yosuke Ushigome
If you're curious to see more of the winning projects, the below video runs through the Design Miami/Basel exhibition space and gives a closer look at the details:
Emily is a freelance writer based in NYC with an interest in all things design, specifically the design process. When she's not writing about design, Emily can either be found taking care of her 31 houseplants, going on "nature" walks in her neighborhood or studying Japanese. Before going freelance, Emily was an Editor at Core77.