In June 2022, 11 Master’s program students from the FH Joanneum Graz university visited SWAROVSKI OPTIK in Absam. As part of the course "Design Projektarbeit", they had the task to come up with new design ideas for observation optics. The results were presented at SWAROVSKI OPTIK after just one semester - and they exceeded all expectations.
It all began at the end of February 2022, when the project "SWAROVSKI OPTIK" was decided upon by the students of the Master's program Industrial Design. From then on, they tinkered, designed, discarded designs, and rethought. Of course, they did not remain completely without support. On an excursion in mid-March, for example, the students were given the opportunity to test SWAROVSKI OPTIK binoculars in the mountains of the Gesäuse National Park. This day served as inspiration for many of the students.
More concepts followed.
On June 13, the students, together with the head of the institute, Prof. Mag. Thomas Feichtner, and the head of the course, Dipl. Des (FH) Magnus Feil MFA, finally traveled to Tyrol. A guided tour of the SWAROVSKI OPTIK manufacturing unit was followed by a guided tour of the capital of Tyrol, which they could discover with binoculars. The day ended with a dinner in Innsbruck.
The presentations followed the next day. Among others, the entire SWAROVSKI OPTIK Executive Board was present (Andreas Gerk, CTO & COO, and Stefan Hämmerle, CMO & CSO , and Thomas Saller, Member of the Executive Board for Finance & Administration), who watched each presentation with great interest. The project was coordinated by Florian Schletterer, Division Manager of Product Management & Strategic Business Development at SWAROVSKI OPTIK. The situation was particularly exciting for the students because the presentation of the projects was also the final exam of the course. Despite all the excitement, everyone presented their projects with stunning confidence.
The presentations were as individual as the characters of the students. Thus, their binocular ideas emerged from personal passions, with none resembling the other.
In addition to functionality, a special focus in all projects was on the aspect of sustainability. In some cases, active environmental protection was also incorporated into the work.
The ideas for materials that could be used were particularly varied. For example, materials such as vegan leather (e.g. from pineapple) or rubber made from dandelions could become increasingly relevant in the future. Binocular cases made of molded wood, bags made of Lyocell and shaping materials such as oxide ceramics were also presented.
Not only materials, but also the possibility to repair all parts of the optical devices play an essential role in sustainable product design. Thus, the interchangeability of all components of the binoculars was a theme in many of the works.
After the presentations, all participants were enthusiastic about the professionalism and extraordinary creativity of the students. From feasibility to practical details, all aspects were considered. Particularly impressive were also the haptic models that were brought along for illustration.
Head of the course Dipl. Des (FH) Magnus Feil MFA praised the fact that the students had thought far beyond materials in terms of sustainability. The SWAROVSKI OPTIK Executive Board was also unanimously enthusiastic about the depth of the quality and the diversity of the works.
The SWAROVSKI OPTIK Executive Board would like to thank the students as well as Prof. Mag. Thomas Feichtner and Dipl. Des (FH) Magnus Feil MFA for this successful cooperation.
"A big praise to everyone involved, the project management and the students. We were able to see great approaches that are worth pursuing." - Florian Schletterer
"In terms of sustainability, the students not only understood SWAROVSKI OPTIK, but also thought far beyond materials." - Magnus Feil