Norwegian architecture studio Snøhetta has completed an ultramodern workshop near Innsbruck, Austria befitting the glitz and glamour of crystal manufacturer Swarovski. Idealized as a shining 21st century atelier for the Tyrolean crystal company, the Swarovski Manufaktur brings together clients, designers, artists, teachers, technicians and machine operators under one roof in a work space that aims to facilitate innovation, collaboration and idea exchange.
Central to the pillar of creating stimulating spaces to encourage creativity is the use of natural light. Patrick Lüth, Managing Director of Snøhetta's Studio in Innsbruck, explains that the firm steered away from incorporating the physical properties of crystals into the building's massing.
"Instead, we have tried to understand what makes crystal so special and attractive, and to use these ephemeral qualities to create a specific atmosphere," said Lüth. "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."
The Manufaktur reproduces the production process of the Swarovski crystal on a smaller scale. The main floor is home to the machines required to create prototypes and small crystal series. The flexibility of the space means that it can quickly respond to changes in technical standards or specifications.
Daylight penetrates the ceiling through "cassettes", 135 openings covered with a protective solar coating. The white steel ceiling implements a rhythmic six-by-three-metre pattern with a skewed grid. The ceiling is also outfitted with perforated acoustic panels which manage sound levels inside.
Walls are painted in white while light birch wood panels cover the floor surface and a suspended sculptural platform that provides an overlook of the ground level. This platform hosts offices, showrooms and presentation rooms enclosed by glass walls. The resultant individual rooms are accented by a variety of rich materials, including oak wood, brass, stained glass and textiles.
The LEED Gold building was completed late last year.
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