Interview. Preciosa Lighting on Its Luxurious Pearls
Preciosa in the Czech Republic owns an extensive portfolio of crystal chandeliers and lighting for luxury hotels, royal palaces, private residences and yachts all over the globe, including the largest superyacht in the world—Dilbar.
During the Monaco Yacht Show in September 2019, we met Andreas Klug, one of the creative directors at Preciosa. In this interview, Klug discusses the challenges, demands and opportunities that exist when designing for high-end.
Time dwindles, year after year, shedding the layers of style like autumn leaves falling to prepare for a new season; we see styles evolve and we help them—piling fallen leaves into a stack in which we jump, watching the leaves fly in the air as an array of crisp orange-brown creates a new design on the ground below us.
1724. Preciosa began its journey in becoming one of the master manufacturers of crystal glass, producing and cultivating chandeliers according to the original Bohemian traditions. In its early years, the luxurious material entered society, head high, with a special shine—until the years ticked by and companies found a way to produce larger quantities at a faster pace for a lower price. Exploited by brands who market cheap objects. Preciosa decided to revisit the image of crystal glass and has succeeded in rendering it one of the most exquisite materials in the room.
1912. Royal palaces had already been exhibiting Preciosa lighting. A palace, a yacht; the owner of each. Such clients began requesting maritime lighting from Preciosa who quickly put into action the development of a stronger material and configuration for safety. Its ‘silent block’ technology ensures tremble-free lights and trimmings no matter the size of the installation or the waves.
Timeless in Luxury
Luxury. An industry that seeks entertainment, says Andreas Klug of Vasku & Klug. Tastes change, but the need to entertain in a luxury setting never does.
Klug came on board four years ago, hired as one of the creative directors to rebrand and redirect product design—the word ‘design’ had never been a discussion in the past. Tastes had changed, though, even in luxury, and the brand found its most beloved chandelier models appealing to a smaller crowd.
There are two main challenges when designing for high-end: the fact that technology is expected but should not be visible and that an impeccable eye for detail is a must, since expectations are high and always rising. As for Preciosa, we also had the challenge of adapting to a more casual Scandinavian trend. We had to take our older pieces and work them into a new design.”
Interactive lighting, using ‘behind-the-scenes’ technology to respond to the senses: sound, touch. Over the last four years, the brand has launched a variety of products through interactive installations. Design provokes interaction in order to address senses, says Klug.
“The more senses the object addresses, the higher the emotional value—which is what we’re looking to create. Technology should be invisible in order to create mystery. The unknown takes us back to childhood when discovery left us in a state of amazement.”
The Pearls in Interactive Glory
At the Monaco Yacht Show 2019, Preciosa launched a new interactive installation for yachts, a maritime version of its signature design Pearl Drop.
Frank Tjepkema designed the Pearl Drop for Preciosa as a handmade triplex opal sphere. The pearl, a treasure from the sea, combined with Preciosa’s knowhow for creating installations with crystal and glass would enter the world of luxury yachts yet again.
Visitors recalled last year’s installation at MYS: Pearl Wave, an ensemble of the triplex opal spheres hanging from gold metal rods responded to the cheering and clanking of champagne glasses with a burst of light.
It reacts to sound.
The new installation brought an impatient and excited crowd to experience its discovery: Pearl Treasure. A simple caress by visitors who were invited to pick up the pearl prompted the Pearl Drop to illuminate.
Preciosa has reinvented the light switch: a golden bowl with three pearls in the center. I picked up one of the pearls and rolled it in my hands until it lit, then placed it back into the bowl. Interactive pearls. Energy from the lit pearl stimulated the combination of pearls dangling above the golden bowl. One pearl after the other lit in sequence until light flowed through the line of pearls and back to its starting point.
Motion sensors within the pearl allow it to illuminate once it’s in motion; once lit, a signal is sent to the next pearl on the “list”, programmed in advance to meet the sensory needs of an event, place or client.
The sense of touch.
The pearls have also participated in an interactive exhibition in Milan where they were affected by breath.
Beautiful Whether Lit or Not
Preciosa’s pearls are made from a unique material called triplex opal. Triplex opal is a traditional craftsmanship technique consisting of three layers of glass on top of one another. Each sphere has a crystal clear core with an opal white layer. On top of these two layers, a third crystal clear layer is overlaid which adds to the rich visual depth.
The company safeguards centuries of tradition and the unique art of master glassmakers from Crystal Valley.