People around the world are familiar with the beauty and sparkle of SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS, which explains why they can now be found in a myriad of settings, from private residences to corporate offices to hotels. But what many people might not appreciate is the length to which Swarovski has gone to create new, innovative applications for its products.
One of the company’s latest projects, between designer Konstantin Grcic and laminate manufacturer ABET LAMINATI, has resulted in the Crystaline collection, a striking line of high-pressure laminates featuring SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS.
Alessandro Peisino, director of marketing communications for ABET LAMINATI, says that his company was eager to work with both the team at SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS and Grcic. “This was a new challenge for us, as we had not used our capabilities and expertise in this way before,” he says. “I believe there is a beauty captured in the collection. SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS enter into ABET laminates based on Grcic’s design, and these three worlds create an outstanding material that is meant to become the characterizing element of exceptional environments.”
And while Peisino believes that his team has successfully achieved the goal of creating a totally new material, it wasn’t without its challenges. Optimization of the product took 6 months, with team members at ABET’s research laboratory conducting numerous tests in search of the perfect way to transform the delicate elements into a durable surface.
“Laminate is produced by impregnating paper with resin, which is then compressed with 90 kilograms of pressure per square centimeter,” Peisino notes. “To realize the Crystaline collection, we created a special compression system in order to include and not crush the SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS in the panel. The result, we believe, is a very extraordinary product.”
The collaboration was born out of SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS at Work, an initiative put into place during the 2010 edition of the Milan Furniture Fair. The FuoriSalone event, hosted by the Triennale of Milan, united international designers with industrial producers to create innovative and contemporary product designs; it was then that ABET LAMINATI was paired with Grcic, one of Europe’s most notable industrial designers.
Executives with Swarovski note that the product developed by the team was totally new for their market; the company had previously collaborated with manufacturers of tile, mosaics and parquet, but the collaboration with a laminate producer was a first. And while the unique characteristics of Swarovski’s Crystal Fabric required changes to the manufacturing process, modifications to the SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS themselves were not required to manufacture the collection. In this way, the team was able to transform a standard laminate into a special, distinctive offering.
The resulting Crystaline collection from ABET LAMINATI features three distinct patterns (Bling, Ray and Peak), each of which are offered in white or black. The laminate sheet sizes measure 48 by 96 inches and the minimum order is for one sheet; custom orders can also be done when 20 or more sheets are required for an installation.
The inspiration for the collection occurred when Grcic visited Swarovski’s headquarters in Wattens, Austria. “The goal of our collaboration was to link crystal elements with the furniture industry,” he says. “During my visit, I was shown a postage stamp that had crystals applied to it. Laminate is made of compressed paper soaked
in resin. Seeing the stamp started the thought
process for me.”
Grcic recalls that the team wanted to apply SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS to paper permanently, in a way and on a scale that had never been done before. “The other members of the team were very enthusiastic. During the development process, we squashed together 10 pieces of paper and a resin, which was then baked at a high temperature. The challenge was to not damage the SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS while applying/impregnating them into the laminate. It reminded me of a highly technical version of a child sprinkling glitter on glue and paper and then giving it a shake.”
The Ray pattern, which features pure, pinstriped lines, and Peak, which features a simple geometry that resembles a honeycomb, are the most geometric of the patterns; Bling, on the other hand, captures a
firmament of lights scattered within the laminate. In Grcic’s opinion, the use of SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS sparingly in each pattern creates a strong effect—“a few seemed to look more precious than many,” he says.
Indeed, the Crystaline collection carries forward Grcic’s reputation for minimalist expression, while also providing interior designers with the tools to create stunning, luxurious spaces. It’s proof of the power of collaboration, and validates ABET’s unique approach to product development.
“We give great importance to market requirements and cultural changes, and we continue to invest resources in technology and creativity to meet what we see happening,” Peisino says. “The collaboration with important companies and international designers is something that is very characteristic of our company and the development of the Crystaline collection follows those beliefs.”
For more information about the Crystaline collection, visit www.abetlaminati.com.
Janet Wiens is a freelance writer based in Memphis, Tenn. Formerly a marketing manager for HNTB, she now works with industry clients to address their marketing and public relations needs. She can be reached at email@example.com.