ABET LAMINATI

Founded in Italy more than 50 years ago ABET LAMINATI is one of the world's leading manufacturers of laminates, currently with 700 different laminates distributed in 89 countries. Over the decades, the company has been a pioneer in its field, beginning in the 1960s with its groundbreaking introduction of laminates in bold, bright colors, to innovations like the world's first translucent laminate with 3-D decoration, the first entirely recycled laminate and, more recently, new digital printing techniques.

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Crystaline Collection by Konstantin Grcic

ABET LAMINATI has long been renowned for both its technical know-how and its history-making engagement with designers and design. Among others, the company was an important collaborator with Italy's Studio Alchimia and Memphis movement; with its laminate-covered furniture in vibrant colors and patterns, the latter would become synonymous with 1980s design. Throughout the years, ABET LAMINATI, which has won numerous awards including the Compasso d'Oro, has worked with top designers including Ettore Sottsass, Alessandro Mendini, Mario Bellini, Enzo Mari, Joe Colombo - and now, through "SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS at Work", Konstantin Grcic. "We were able to find a way to create a completely new material," Alessandro Peisino, the company's marketing director, says of Grcic. "Laminate is paper impregnated with resin and compressed with 90kg of pressure per square centimetre. We had to create a special compression system in order to integrate, and not crush, the crystal. Konstantin made his design succeed within the limits of our technology - that's the mind of a true industrial designer at work."



BD BARCELONA DESIGN

Widely considered Spain's leading design manufacturer, BD Barcelona Design was founded in 1972 as Bd Ediciones de Diseño by a group of architects and interior designers who were then working together as Studi PER: Pep Bonet, Cristian Cirici, Lluis Clotet, Mireia Riera and Oscar Tusquets. With a focus on originality and virtuosity, both from the past and today, the award-winning company was the first to commercially manufacture the furniture designs of Antoni Gaudi as well as the iconic Dalilips sofa (a collaboration between Tusquets and Salvador Dali that was designed in 1972 but not produced until 2004). Meanwhile, BD Barcelona Design has received numerous accolades for its work with contemporary designers such as Javier Mariscal, Alvaro Siza, Ross Lovegrove, Konstantin Grcic and Jaime Hayon.

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The Narcissist Collection by neri&hu

For the company's general manager, Jordi Arnau, it was only natural to add Lyndon Neri and Rossana Hu, of Shanghai- based neri&hu, to its designer roster for "SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS at Work". "We have worked together with Lyndon and 9 X 10 SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS at Work Rossana for more than five years, as customers of BD Barcelona Design," he says, referring to the retail operation Design Republic, run by the pair in Shanghai. "But it was only very recently that we learned of their work as designers, and we were astonished by what we saw." Adds Arnau: "They combine very well the tradition of Chinese craftsmanship with modern design, creating a new language for objects that is very unique around the world."



FANNYARONSEN PRESENTED BY KVADRAT

FANNYARONSEN is a Swedish maker of luxury, quality textiles for modern interiors established in 1998 by designer Fanny Aronsen. Founded in Denmark in 1968, Kvadrat holds a leading position as a maker of design-textiles supplying renowned architects, designers and furniture manufacturers throughout the world, for use in upholstery and curtains. The company continuously seeks to push the aesthetic, technological and artistic boundaries of textiles, working with a roster of the world's top designers, architects and artists including Alfredo Häberli, Peter Saville, Akira Minagawa, Tord Boontje, David Adjaye and Olafur Eliasson. Kvadrat fabrics have been used in some of the world's most intriguing architectural developments, from London's Gherkin and New York's Museum of Modern Art to the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao and the Reichstag in Berlin.

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Novalin Irrblos, Perla, Blenda, Spraka by Fanny Aronsen

The wallcoverings and textiles created by Fanny Aronsen for SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS at Work are an extraordinary synthesis of exciting innovations from SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS (flocking with SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS has been used for the very first time here on a commercial product) with Aronsen's remarkable talent in designing textiles and Kvadrat's experience.

"It is a great opportunity to work with an established company like Swarovski and working with Fanny Aronsen is always a pleasure. She is so talented and a real expert in textile design," says Kvadrat marketing director Njusja de Gier.



GAIA & GINO

GAIA&GINO was founded in 2004, its headquarters are based in Istanbul, Turkey. The company - named after founder Gaye Cevikel's nickname and her dog, Gino - has distinguished itself with quirky, inventive and storytelling products that have earned it a reputation as one of the international design scene's most promising young brands. The GAIA&GINO collection combines contemporary design with a Turkish sensibility by asking such leading designers as Andrée Putman, Arik Levy, Christian Ghion, Constantin Boym, Defne Koz, Harry Allen, Jaime Hayon, Karim Rashid and Yves Béhar to incorporate traditional forms and patterns into innovative objects. The choice of designer is essential, as their language must be in line with the company's identity: dynamic, organic, emotional, multi-disciplinary, and multi-cultural.

GAIA&GINO's involvement with "SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS at Work" spans the talents of three designers: the Tokyo firm Nendo, London-based Sebastian Bergne and Paris-based Francois Azambourg.

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Eye Collection by Sebastian Bergne

"Sebastian had been on my wish list for a while - his language is completely consistent with that of GAIA&GINO," says Cevikel. "The combination of technology with craftsmanship and some storytelling is perfect. Iznik quartz is a unique type of ceramic, made with quartz and fired at very high temperatures. He fell in love with the technique and the colors you could achieve. The result is an extraordinary combination of Turkish history and contemporary design."

PUZZLE COLLECTION by Nendo

Working with Nendo has represented a major departure for Gaye Cevikel in several ways. "They are very creative and conceptual," says Cevikel. "So the ideas come first and the commercialization of them has been another stage. We have ended up making GAIA&GINO's first non-functional product, but it's a thing of great beauty and it's also fun, which fits with the GAIA&GINO agenda. People will find the crystal in the middle of the glass cubes like a hidden jewel. It's about reactions and play."

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Fake Wood Collection by François Azambourg

François Azambourg, known for his beautifully executed explorations into high-end product design, was an obvious candidate to collaborate with the company. "He's very clever", says Gaye. "He sorts out and solves problems like an engineer, and then adds a helping of wit. His work has a real elegance." This is borne out by the series of trays and boxes he has created, covered in Chaton Leather, bearing a fake wood pattern, picket out in perfectly inlaid crystal elements. "The Chaton Leather hasn't been used in the interiors sector before, so this is pure innovation and yet the products are completely functional," says Cevikel.

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LAPALMA

Based in Cadoneghe, outside the Italian city of Padua, lapalma has been manufacturing modern furniture of the highest quality for more than 30 years. Known for their clean, elegant lines, lack of ostentation and interesting material combinations - of wood, leather, metal, wicker and glass - its products reflect the company's philosophy of creating seating, tables and accessories with timeless, universal appeal. For lapalma, furniture should express rational aesthetics, with an emphasis on details that can contribute to a refined, peaceful and functional atmosphere. To this effect, it has worked with such international designers as Hannes Wettstein, Alfredo Häberli, Patrick Norguet and Shin and Tomoko Azumi.

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Floe Tables by Tomoko Azumi

More recently, the company has moved towards forms that exhibit an extreme, nearly crystalline clarity, which is what Tomoko Azumi has created with her FLOE tables for lapalma's collaboration with "SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS at Work". "Lapalma is not associated with crystals at all," says the company's head of export, Marco Desiderati. "But then, Swarovski is not usually associated with furniture. I guess we were both interested in new territories and as a result, this project has been a fruitful marriage." As Desiderati points out, “We really don't need any more objects these days. But we do need emotion and sensation. For that reason, Tomoko's tables, which will create a special atmosphere and possess a certain magic, seem right for the times."



MERITALIA

The company President Mr. Giulio Meroni founded MERITALIA in 1987 for the production of upholstered and other furnishing elements that combine design, craftsmanship and the latest technology. Since then, the company has developed a precious know-how that today allows it to reach the highest standards of quality, marrying the creativity of important designers who have so far included Mario Bellini, Gaetano Pesce, Italo Rota, Toshiyuki Kita, Tobia Scarpa, Fabio Novembre, Karim Rashid, Alessandro Mendini, Marc Newson, Marco Piva, Carlo Contin, Vittorio Prato and others - with the technique, care, ability and experience gained from decades in the field. MERITALIA specializes in upholstered furniture, but partners with other factories within the MERITALIA group such as Mele, which focuses on woodwork, nd Meme, with its expertise in metal.

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The un-WIRED collection by neri&hu

"SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS at Work" has provided MERITALIA the opportunity to establish its first Chinese-based designer partnership, with Lyndon Neri and Rossana Hu of Shanghai's neri&hu. Of the un-WIRED collection of tables that have resulted, Meroni says: "I like the concept very much. When you put these tables into a darkened space, it looks like the crystals are suspended in air. They are not just there to enrich the piece - it's like they're floating. With the glass tops in a range of different colours - green, yellow, red - this is a design full of surprise, craft and beauty."



MOROSO

Established by Agostino Moroso in Udine, Italy, in 1952, MOROSO is today one of design's most imaginative and closely- watched trendsetters, a maker of sofas, armchairs and other furnishings that leads the high end of the contemporary furniture market. Continuous research, design innovation, skilled craftsmanship and the vision of Patrizia Moroso, Agostino's daughter and the company's creative director for more than 20 years, have made the company a sought-after name. In recent years, MOROSO has helped launch the careers of such now well- known designers as Tord Boontje, Patricia Urquiola and the London-based duo Doshi Levien, while also collaborating with Ron Arad, Marc Newson, Konstantin Grcic, Tom Dixon, Javier Mariscal, Ross Lovegrove, Marcel Wanders, Tokujin Yoshioka and many others. "My company is for me the sum of all my designers," Patrizia Moroso has said.

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Paperplanes by Doshi Levien

For "SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS at Work", Doshi Levien has returned to MOROSO to create the Paper Planes armchair. "Their work is really new in the way that it so successfully mixes tradition and modernity," Patrizia says of Doshi Levien.



QUINZE & MILAN

Based in Kortrijk, Belgium, Quinze & Milan is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year as a young, energetic manufacturer of innovative, playful and functional seating, furniture and accessories. Beginning with its wildly successful Quinze & Milan pouf, a block of brightly coloured foam on four legs in a variety of sizes, the company has expanded from its early focus on foam to work with materials spanning wood and steel to MDF and concrete. Its popular production pieces, designed by Scott Wilson, Marc Thorpe, Clive Wilkinson, Wiel Arets, Gitta Gschwendtner and others, join custom and limited edition works created by and for Jürgen Mayer H., Tord Boontje and such high-profile projects as OMA/ Rem Koolhaas's Seattle Public Library

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Quarry and Soft Crystal Series by Gitta Gschwendtner

For "SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS at Work", Quinze & Milan once again worked with Gschwendtner to produce the resin plaster Quarry stools and silicon Soft Crystal vases.

Lionel Doyen is head of design at the Belgian company Quinze & Milan. "It's not easy to introduce crystal into our kind of work on the one hand. On the other, it is our aim to push the borders and make the unexpected. That aspect of the collaboration was important to us. I really think both products will surprise people," says Doyen. "For the stools we needed something that would be easy to cast, but heavy enough to have a sharp edge. The plaster/resin - which has the name Keramic - turned out to be the right material. And because you don't fire it, it stays soft to the touch."



WHEN OBJECTS WORK

Based in Bruges, Belgium, when objects work was launched in 2001 by founder Beatrice de Lafontaine, who was inspired by the William Morris quote: "Have nothing in your house which you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful." Since then, Lafontaine's company has quickly earned a reputation for producing highly refined objects of sublime beauty, all made with authentic materials while combining the sparest of forms with the highest levels of craftsmanship. Most of its pieces are made by hand.

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Lotus Plate by Studio Pei-Zhu

The list of designers and architects that the company has commissioned work from is equally selective, including John Pawson, Shigeru Ban, Maarten van Severen, Jean-Michel Wilmotte - and now, through "SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS at Work", the leading contemporary Chinese architecture firm Studio Pei-Zhu.

Studio Pei-Zhu's Lotus plate is the firm's first project with when objects work. "It is in completely clear glass sprinkled with crystals, and almost entirely handmade," says Thomas Ostyn, who is head of development for when objects work. "We like to work with people who have a vision and it's always interesting to see architects translate their ideas into a small object. They are so deeply concerned with proportion and function. This piece is no exception."