May 10, 2018

Swarovksi and Design Miami/ Designers of the Future 2018 Explore Crystal Innovations

Left to Right: Tetsuo Mukai of Study O Portable, Frank Kolkman, and Yosuke Ushigome of Takram. Photography courtesy of Swarovski.

For the fourth consecutive year, Swarovski and Design Miami/‘s Designers of the Future competition honors emerging design talent whose pioneering ideas propel humanity into the future. This year’s brief—“Can crystal innovations make the way we live our lives smarter, more interactive, sustainable, immersive and accessible?”challenged designers to find a way to integrate crystals into smart technologies, including psycho-activation techniques, touch crystal technology, and energy crystal technology. The three winners are designer and robot-technologist Frank Kolkman, Dutch-Japanese research-based practice Study O Portable, and Yosuke Ushigome, a Japanese technologist focusing on emerging technologies.

Frank Kolkman examines the possibilities of crystals to stimulate artificial dreaming. Photography courtesy of Swarovski.

Kolkman’s submission, “Dream Machine”, synchronizes alpha and theta brainwaves with Swarovski crystals, creating an immersive light and sound experience. Fusing the potential of crystals with the possibilities of neurobiology, neuropsychology, and psycho-activation techniques, “Dream Machine” seeks to create a calming respite from the mental strain of modern life.

Tetsuo Mukai and Bernadette Deddens of Study O Portable, a research-based firm investigating the transitional relationships between people, objects, and the cultural landscape. Photography courtesy of Swarovski.

Study O will use Swarovski’s crystal technology to create color and light gradient surfaces. Inspired by the blurred sense of color frequently found in nature, these surfaces could be applied to objects as diverse as screens, tables, and lighting fixtures.

Yosuke Ushigome explores the ways in which crystals may facilitate better human-AI relationships. Photography courtesy of Swarovski.

Yosuke Ushigome’s winning project is entitled “Can Crystals Interface Us to AI?” and explores crystal technology as the new frontier in smart home technology. Rather than voice-assist capable tech, Ushigome envisions a future in which the inherent, emotional quality of crystals will enable better human-machine intelligence interactions.

This year’s commissions will be shown at Design Miami/Basel from June 12-17, 2018.

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