Swarovski's ace designers Martin Zendron and Heinz Tabertshofer speak about their crystal menagerie"We are not married," jokes Swarovski's top designer Martin Zendron, when the photographer suggests that he strike a casual pose with co-designer Heinz Tabertshofer. But the two have worked together closely to complete Swarovski's unique Wonders of the Sea Trilogy. And the synchrony shows not just in their designs, but in their thinking as well. While Martin speaks, Heinz nods politely, throughout the half-hour interview!In Chennai, as part of their six-city India tour to launch `The Collector,' (Swarovski's latest offering to its Crystal Society members), and personally sign on the pieces designed by them, Martin and Heinz delve into the various facets that make Swarovski special. "With every edition, we raise the bar. Quality, precision and variety are Swarovski's strengths. Technically and design-wise, we are open to fresh ideas," says Martin.
Nature, a constantBut hasn't Nature been a constant in Swarovski's crystal menagerie? "Absolutely. The fact is that themes revolving around Nature find greater acceptance among Swarovski lovers. Only a few young people like it when we present something very contemporary. But Nature finds dynamic expressions and interpretations in our range."The Collector, for instance, portrays a clear-cut crystal bee perched on a hibiscus flower with a peach-coloured stamen. "The bee is Nature's biggest collector. A symbol of activity and accord, it is Swarovski's tribute to its collectors on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Swarovski Crystal Society."Symbolism inspired by Nature runs through "The Wonders of the Sea" trilogy as well. What was started by Martin in 2005 with "Harmony" (depicting a clown fish and a sea anemone) was followed by designer Michael Stamey in 2006 with "Eternity" (a gentle turtle) and finished by Heinz with "Community" (banner fish making a breezy move) this year. "The three pieces together open up a fascinating submarine world where everything blends peacefully," smiles Martin.
Eye for detailThe creations are more than mirror images of reality. The designers' keen eye for detail and their understanding of their subjects are reflected in each piece. "That's where Swarovski stands out. Every piece expresses something. That's not all. Whether it is the wild macaw or the graceful fish, we use colour in a subtle way. Colour remains an area where we see no competition, because we are many steps ahead."When asked whether India will be an inspiration for future lines, Martin explains, "Fragments of influences will be there, but at the moment there are no plans to make exclusive lines for any local market. India and China are emerging as Swarovski's potential markets. We had many people come to us and ask for a Swarovski Taj Mahal during our visit to New Delhi. But it's difficult to create something based on any specific local influence because it involves both the design and marketing departments. We prefer to go for themes that would find appeal across the barriers of countries and continents."T. KRITHIKA REDDY