After successful projects from Tokyo to New York, Beijing to London, the Nachtmann NEXTGEN Project has ventured to the land down under. Out of 10 aspiring designers from top Australian university, University of Technology, Sydney, one student was selected for his ability to reimagine strength as delicacy and tradition as modern elegance. 22-year-old Oliver Bryant now introduces JULES, a four-piece range, into the global Nachtmann NEXTGEN collection.
For the University of Technology, Sydney, the unique opportunity offered up by the NEXTGEN Project was one they were keen to be a part of. With their bold vision to be a world-leading university of technology, UTS nurtures their students to become global thinkers, leaders and innovators. Their programs are known for industry focus and practice-based teaching and learning, perfectly aligned with the hands-on NEXTGEN Project.
Stefan Lie, the Director of Product Design from the Faculty of Design, Architecture and Building at UTS, was involved in the project and helped to handpick the students to take part. As in previous years, the students were flown to Nachtmann’s factories in Germany to get a close-up look at manufacturing, technology and production of crystal glass. They gained insights into design development and Nachtmann’s brand philosophy so they can develop innovative designs tailored to the brand values.
Stefan says, “It was an honour to be selected out of five other universities to represent Australia in Nachtmann NEXTGEN. The way in which the project was organised – from the time our students spent at the Ambiente Fair in Frankfurt, to the visits of all the manufacturing facilities in southern Germany – meant the knowledge and experience our students gained from the project was second to none. We are absolutely thrilled that Oliver Bryant’s range JULES has gone into production and was launched at the 2019 Ambiente Fair.”
The journey to the winning design began with Oliver looking to the Australian landscape, but he struggled to find a design that was both authentic to the project and personal to him. Says Oliver, “It wasn’t until after our first round of design presentations that I realised I didn’t have the right goal for my process. I had been trying to design ‘innovative glassware’ when I needed to focus on bringing innovation to Nachtmann’s glassware.
“I went from asking, “what can I do with glassware that’s new?” to “how can I work with the values and technology of Nachtmann to push towards a new direction?” After this I felt like I finally understood how to approach it.”
His ultimate source of inspiration came from his trip to Germany in the early stages of the NEXTGEN Project. “Jet turbines spoke to me because of the inherent tension between their precise, intricate appearance, and their potential for power and force,” says Oliver. “I wanted to embody a feeling of robust strength that was at the same time delicate and refined to the touch. I tried to visualise the feeling of air streaming through a jet in a single static moment. Capturing the feeling of intense power while retaining a sense of refinement and delicateness in the fine lines and ridges of the range. When in flight, a jet gathers and distorts the air, and this is mirrored by the way the curves of the pattern gather and refract light.”
Oliver named the series after his grandmother, who was born in Austria. “This trip was the first time I was able to visit some of the places they grew up, giving me a new sense of connection and understanding with them.” He also recalls their prized cabinet of ‘special occasion’ cut crystal, noting both the link to Nachtmann’s origins and the exact style of product of which he wanted to steer clear.
Richard Voit, Nachtmann CEO, has said of JULES, “With Australia presenting such a booming market for the Nachtmann brand, we knew this had to be our next stop on the NEXTGEN itinerary. Every year, we are challenged with balancing the incredible creativity and originality of the students’ work, and the restrictions in machine production. This year was no different, and it is why the students’ trip to Germany is such a vital step in the process. Oliver worked tirelessly with us to evolve his design into the final product, and we are so pleased to now present this beautiful Australian series as part of the Nachtmann NEXTGEN portfolio.”
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