Interview: Fiona Swarovski
January 16, 2009
Born in Basel, Switzerland, Fiona Swarovski has worked to create her own niche in the design sector while also serving as a worldwide ambassador for Swarovski International’s image and style. This has led to a number of innovations, including a new product line combining natural stone and one-of-a-kind patterns in Swarovski crystals.
Although Fiona Swarovski is among the youngest family descendants working in the design sector, her resume has developed quickly over the years. Her studies took place in London, England, as well as three locations in Switzerland -- Basel, Lausanne and Lugano, where she obtained her Degree in Art History. Subsequently, she took a course at Sotheby’s Institute of Art and attended the Parsons School of Design in New York, NY, before moving to Italy, where she became active in interior decoration.
In December 2002, after a long creative run dedicated to the design and production of jewelry and fashion accessories, Fiona Swarovski decided to tackle a new professional challenge by opening a new design center -- Fiona Winter Studio (FWS) -- of which she is Creative Director. Based in a traditional house in downtown Milan, Italy, Fiona Winter Studio has already realized several collections, working at the same time for Swarovski Group and other internationally known fashion brands.
Currently, Fiona Swarovski is working on a number of creative projects. Among them, she is collaborating with stone producer, Antolini Luigi & C. of Italy, on a project combining semi-precious and other exotic stone materials with patterns of Swarovski crystals.
“The experience acquired over the years has enabled me to develop a unique and original style, [which is] the result of the meticulous search for new materials, innovative choices in style and production techniques ahead of the times. These are the reasons why we have chosen Antolini and their countless range of natural stones to develop unique and original design elements,” Fiona Swarovski said.
Using Swarovski crystals in unique, one-of-a-kind patterns, materials such as agate, amethyst and petrified wood are converted into furnishings rather than building materials, with the goal of creating “dream living spaces” for a client.
“We have found that at Fiona Winter Studio, they share the same passion for natural stone and the same attention to every single detail -- from the quality of the stone to every aspect of design,” said Alberto Antolini, CEO of Antolini Luigi & C. “This is the common spirit that has spurred us to create this new collection.”
Recently, the new Antolini Precious Stone Collection, signed by Fiona Winter Studio, was on display at the Marmomacc international stone trade/design event in Verona, Italy, where Contemporary Stone & Tile Design had a chance to speak with Fiona Swarovski about her latest endeavor.
CSTD: What was your inspiration to begin working with stone?
Swarovski: I wanted marble for an interior design, and Alberto Antolini showed me his stone boutique. I saw the backlit stone, and I wanted to do something great. I wanted to do something more than backlit -- using light as well as color.
The slabs are all semi-precious materials, hand made stone by stone. Every piece is different from another, and the designs are different every time. This concept allows for the inspiration of the architect or the client. They can decide if it is going to be a design of a tiger or an elephant, for example, or a geometric pattern, or a pattern that was inspired by nature.
Some [of the crystal designs] follow the natural veins of the slab, and some have a completely different ornamentation that is independent of the veining.
CSTD: What are some of the applications for these designs?
Swarovski: You can really do everything -- a dinner table, a floor, an entrance to a home. You can do a pool area. You can do a bathroom -- the bathtub or shower area. Of course, you can create an impression on the walls of a home or an upscale hotel or bar.
[The collection] works well with a lot of different materials, in designs with wood, leather, steel, bronze, carbon fiber. I have a mobile team that travels around the world, and they can visit and do [the crystal designs] on an existing decoration. If someone is tired of their old design, it is like a new application of decoration to apply to the surface. We haven’t seen anything like this.