Crystal Method: Lukas Wegwerth's Gem-Like Designs

Courtesy Gallery Fumi

A modern-day alchemist forges delicate designs with sublime serendipity.

Repairing shattered pottery is like solving a sticky-fingered jigsaw puzzle. In order to highlight rather than hide the cracks, the Japanese developed a technique that uses gold-dusted lacquer to rejoin the pieces, creating something better than the original. Now, Berlin-based Lukas Wegwerth, 31, has come up with another process that prizes the imperfect, by growing vibrant crystals in the gaps.

The designer, who recently showed his work at Design Miami Basel with London’s Gallery Fumi, grows the crystals on the broken pottery in a solution over the course of 4 to 21 days. Wegwerth, who studied carpentry before attending the Berlin University of the Arts, also creates furniture with similarly inventive materials and discovered his crystallization process after trying glues, plaster, and wax.

While his talent can control the size and color of the gem-like structures, Wegworth’s method allows plenty of room for happy accidents. And each piece, by nature,is one of a kind. “I started with broken ones, but I couldn’t find enough of them,” he says.“So I decided to manage the destruction. But,as with the process itself,it’s always about the space between control and coincidence.” Crystallization vases, about $4,750 each;