Awe-inspiring Architecture Comes to the Alps

Swarovski Launched its New Headquarters Extension, Manufaktur, with an Unforgettable Open House Event that Celebrated an Entirely New Level of Sustainability and Architectural Aesthetics.

Great building design engages our emotions as well as intellects. It has to be jaw dropping, of course, but aesthetic ambition is not enough: it should be thoughtful, too, which means aiming for the highest possible environmental credentials. Manufaktur, the new extension to Swarovski’s headquarters in Austria’s Tyrol, is all this and a lot more besides…

Designed by Norwegian architects Snøhetta, it’s ultra-green and sets a new standard in sustainable architecture. It is a small-scale version of Swarovski’s entire production process—all under one roof, giving staff and clients an unprecedented experience of the manufacturing and project-development process, and enabling rapid prototyping of design ideas right there and then, on the spot. This is a whole new way of working that deepens human communication and opens up opportunities across the creative and product-development processes.

So it was fitting that on October 24–25, Swarovski held an Open House, officially opening its doors to over 300 celebrities, business leaders and VIPs from all over the world. Those lucky enough to be taken on the magical journey of discovery laid on for them included fashion designers Peter Dundas, Michael Halpern, Viktor Horsting of Viktor&Rolf, Olivier Theyskens, Ludovic de Saint Sernin, Stéphanie D’heygere, Chantal Thomass, Arthur Arbesser, Nina Knaudt and Rianna Nektaria of Rianna + Nina, and Marina Hoermanseder. British theatrical costume designer Sandy Powell, Derek McLane, and jewelry designer Shourouk Rhaiem were also there, along with fashion critic and Business of Fashion’s editor-at-large Tim Blanks, plus designers and architects such as Tord Boontje, Ron Arad, Ian Stallard and Patrik Frederikson.

Bringing an extra note of glamour to Manufaktur’s launch were top models Natasha Poly in Atelier Versace sparkling with Swarovski crystals; Mariacarla Boscono in Dundas and Atelier Swarovski earrings, bracelet and clutch; and Caroline Winberg in Dundas with Atelier Swarovski earrings and accessories.

The program took guests on a Discovery Tour of Manufaktur that encompassed everything from its dazzling highlights to its hidden secrets, including a first-ever close-up of the way crystals are created using pioneering, state-of-the-art equipment. 3D printing expert Julia Körner shared insights into her design collaboration with Swarovski, and Tim Blanks hosted a fascinating conversation: his two participants were Olivier Theyskens—former creative director of Rochas, Nina Ricci, and Theory, and now with his own eponymous brand—and up and coming designer Kevin Germanier, whose outstanding talent has seen him snapped up by Louis Vuitton.

The evening’s entertainment included a gala dinner at Manufaktur, its menu under the direction of Belgian master chef Jean Michel Loriers, and an after-party at Swarovski Crystals Worlds, where guests danced the night away to music from Canadian DJ/producer duo Blond:ish.

As wow factor goes, it’s fair to say that Manufaktur’s Open House delivered in abundance!