Heavy is the hand that holds the crystal – so weighty is that category of glassware in style and substance alike. Crystal tablewares, like so many decorative and functional objects in that category of design, can function as much as vessels for our own emotional associations as they do our evening (or morning) drink. A crystal glass, for example, is for me particularly redolent of my grandmother’s leaden crystal water glass, which she somehow always kept full to the bream, ever at the ready, and covered with a doily to prevent anything unwanted falling or floating in.
I imagine it’s those kind of associations that the Bavarian crystal manufacturer, Nachtmann, not only wants to shake but demolish entirely with Punk, a new collection of crystal glasswares that doubles as the next instalment in their collaborative NextGen program. Now in its eleventh year, the program sees Nachtmann, a centuries old fine crystal glassware maker whose factories are located near Munich, partner with design schools the world over to implement an initiative that’s part competition and part syllabus requirement. Students from participating universities – including Parsons in New York, CAFA in Beijing and most recently Central Saint Martins in London – work in tandem with the brand to create a collection informed by insights into design development, production and branding that they would not otherwise have access to. From a select group of students, several finalists are whittled down, with select students receiving the opportunity to have Nachtmann manufacture their product for retail (successful students receive naming and image rights, plus a licensing fee, meaning the opportunity is also a financially sustainable one in the long term). In an apt twist, next year’s collection will hero the work of a Sydney-based student who participated in the program through his studies at the University of Technology.
Punk is the culmination of Central Saint Martins’ student Anke Buchmann’s (coincidentally, a fellow German) work with Nachtmann, and was inspired by the 40th anniversary of the genesis of its namesake cultural shift.
“I wanted to rebel and break with the norm,” Buchmann said of her designs, which includes whisky tumblers, long drink tumblers, martini glasses, and a whiskey set consisting of a decanter and two tumblers, featuring colour variations of the tumblers in gunmetal, jet black, copper and ruby. “I began to sketch some typical surfaces and patterns of punk, such as rivets and grids. Moving on from these literal translations of key Punk visuals, I progressed to a broader interpretation of the movement, letting the attitude shape the form. At the same time, I carefully researched Nachtmann’s approach to texture and patterns so I could merge this with the Punk style.”
Recalling Tetris block motifs and Valentino’s iconic Rockstud designs alike, much of Punk’s charm lies in its its sheer (or otherwise) craftiness – the opaque tumblers in particular are coated in a very convincing metallic finish – and surprising heft. Even Gran would approve.
In the gallery above:
Nachtmann Punk Whisky Tumbler in Copper, $34. Shop now
Nachtmann Punk Whisky Tumbler in Ruby, $34. Shop now
Nachtmann Punk Whisky Tumbler in Gunmetal, $34. Shop now
Nachtmann Punk Whisky Tumbler in Jet-Black, $34. Shop now
Tile image: Dané Stojanovic
Cover image: Courtesy of Nachtmann