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Crystal Forms

Interesting works by Tokujin Yoshioka and Blanc Bijou at Maison et Objet

by Isabelle Doal in Design on 10 February 2012

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The artistic work of Japanese designer Tokujin Yoshioka and Japanese brand Blanc Bijou were on show at Maison et Objet, illustrating two aspects of the innovative potential of crystal.

Elected designer of the year at the show, Yoshioka's experience with glass tells a long story, from the benches he recently created for the Parisian Musée d'Orsay to his collaborations with Swarovsky, Issey Miyake, Hermès and Cartier.

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He presented pieces from his "Crystallized Project" at Maison et Objet. For Yoshioka, crystals demonstrate nature's power to produce spontaneous forms that transcend human aesthetics—a phenomenon he qualifies as "unintentional beauty". The cost of such a spectacular occurrence, according to the designer, lies in the challenge of working with such naturally hazardous construction.

Crystal cannot be molded, but in this instance, the artist manipulated the medium to grow directly on canvas, manually shaping the forms as much as possible. The series presented at the show grows on the vibrations on the music by Frederic Chopin.

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Looking for a material that could express the essence of light, the designer was fascinated by crystal's peculiar ability to morph from total transparency—the mineral is invisible when dipped in water—to shining with hundreds of reflections when carved.

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The Japanese company Blanc Bijou showed a stunning range of industrial applications to a rare natural crystal called fluorite. The whole process to obtain the purely white material—also called "Blanc Bijou"—was exhibited at Maison et Objet, from the extraction of powder from the fluorite to finished fired results.

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The stability of the molecular structure created offers certain exclusive aesthetic qualities, like a whiteness that never diminishes with time or sunlight and a smooth softness for home use. At the same time, its properties give it a high resistance to heat, chemical treatments and adhesion for use in advanced chemical industries, robotics and medicine.

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