International architecture firm Snøhetta is breaking the mold for industrial architecture with its contemporary and light-filled production facility for Swarovski Manufaktur. Designed to meet LEED Gold standards, this “crystal workshop for the 21st century” offers a spacious environment conducive for collaboration between the departments of design, product development and production. Wrapped in glare-free glass, the building also features glazing throughout the interior to emphasize lightness and transparency.
Located in Wattens, Austria, the 7,000-square-meter Swarovski Manufaktur was created as a new standard for creative work for the Tyrollean crystal manufacturer. The hybrid building not only caters to design and production needs, but also provides Swarovski an attractive and efficient place to work together with customers. Prototyping at Swarovski Manufaktur, for instance, has been cut down from an average of two weeks to six days, which allows the company to bring its clients’ ideas to life — as real crystal prototypes — in much shorter time.
Swarovski Manufaktur is part of the firm’s larger 100 million-euro vision that includes the new design and innovation center Campus 311 and the crystal-cutting facility Crystal Factory of the Future, which is slated to open in 2019. Designed for energy efficiency, Swarovski Manufaktur relies primarily on daylight for lighting. In addition to the glazed facades, the building also features 135 skylights, also coated to prevent against glare. The interior is organized around a centrally located staircase that doubles as a meeting space.
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“We tried not to interpret the physical properties of crystals in our building geometry,” explained Patrick Lüth, managing director of Snøhetta’s Studio in Innsbruck. “Instead, we have tried to understand what makes crystal so special and attractive, and to use these ephemeral qualities to create a specific atmosphere. The space has an incredible amount of daylight penetration, which we believe is unparalleled in the typical production facility context. Crystals only come to life with light, so for us it is the intense presence of that daylight that is the most important aesthetic aspect of this building.”
Images by David Schreyer via Snøhetta