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3 Questions for 3 Designers of the Future

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3 Questions for 3 Designers of the Future

Have we seen all there is to see about smart living?

In terms of using crystal within the "Internet of Things" industry, three Designers of the Future, selected annually by Swarovski were asked to investigate. Can this material provide opportunities to make the way we connect with others and our environment more interactive, sustainable, immersive or accessible? With three extra questions, we tried to hone in on their design approaches and sensibilities of imagining the future.

 

Yosuke Ushigome - 'Can Crystals Interface Us to AI?'

A creative technologist based in London and one part of TAKRAM, Yosuke explored the potential of crystal as an alternative interaction between human and machine intelligence. As opposed to the voice-command capabilities of most home assistant devices such as Amazon Echo and Google Home, his "home shrine" used the crystal as a more familiar, or even spiritual interface to attract people's attention.

How would you describe your design approach?

I use design as a means to communicate ideas and visions with others. As my primary interests are centred around emerging technologies, my design tends to take the form of technology prototypes and experiential storytelling.

What have you learnt working with the Swarovski experts?

It was very valuable to visit the experts as I didn't know anything about it. I was impressed to find that the materiality of the crystal and the cultural association it has in our society are treated as the core value even in a very technical development like Touch Crystal. I could start imagining a role that Swarovski might be taking in the future.

What excites you about working as a designer now and what challenges lie ahead?

The future is full of tough problems when it comes to our relation to technology. But 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. Both challenges and opportunities seem to lie in the disparity in available technologies and datasets among designers, as has always been the case.

Frank Kolkman – Crystal Dream Machine

An experimental Dutch designer specialising in robotic technologies, Kolkman's Dream Machine intends to generate light and sound patterns from Swarovski crystals that synchronise with alpha and theta brainwaves to allow individuals to enter a state of deep relaxation or “artificial dreaming”. 

How would you describe your design approach?

I'm interested in unpicking the social, economical and aesthetic dimensions of current and near-future technologies through design. By developing confrontational prototypes, experimental products and interactive installations that are subtly disruptive I aim to instigate reflection on the processes, systems and values that underpin our technology rich environment. It's really about trying to imagine, generate and test alternative ways of doing, seeing and understanding beyond what is familiar to us today or what is probable in the future.

What have you learnt working with the Swarovski experts?

It was very inspiring to learn about Swarovski's heritage as well as all the innovations that are happening within the company. I think most people associate Swarovski with crystal figurines and fashion accessories however the company successfully operates in many different industries and produces a great variety of products. The production of which is carefully controlled and monitored throughout and is held to the highest environmental standards.

What excites you about working as a designer now and what challenges lie ahead?

Technology today advances very rapidly and sometimes seemingly without much consideration or critical thought on how it can be meaningfully implemented in our lives. I believe design can be an excellent sense-making tool amidst these developments and I'm excited about exploring ways for it to do so.

Study O Portable - Screens

Working with Swarovski's cutting technology, Study O Portable, a research based Dutch-Japanese practice founded by Bernadette Deddens and Tetsuo Mukai, pursued a more analogue route. What they made was a series of screens that explore the blurring of light and fading of colour created from the crystals. To them, smart living meant embracing more of the emotional impact of crystals and associating them with nature, such as the sunset or changing colours of leaves on a tree.

How would you describe your design approach?

We are interested in finding new/alternative ways to describe the ordinary and mundane through objects. It often starts with research into different incarnations of a certain idea or object through history, which are then edited to make a new work that proposes a new possibility for the things we thought we knew.

What have you learnt working with the Swarovski experts?

It is always enlightening to hear from and work with people who are experts in their field and who love what they do. It also gave us the opportunity to get to know the material and possibilities in more depth widening the range of possibilities for the project. Having spent time with the team changed our perspective on the products we thought we knew, which is always interesting and in a sense, is what we try to do with our work as well.

What excites you about working as a designer now and what challenges lie ahead?

We are always interested in how we have been interacting with the designed environment throughout history, and one of the most exciting things right now is the development of technologies that help us understand the past. In a way we know more about the past 1000 years now than 50 years ago and it is an exciting idea that the past now is bigger than ever before. The access to a wider range of information is what drives our work as it allows us to form new connections between different fragments of information that previously might not have been so easily accessible.

 

For more about Designers of the Future, click here.


Any views or opinions in the post are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the company or contributors.


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