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Architects and designers inspired by diamonds

At our last forum on luxury investment we discussed a new diamond jewellery collection by De Beers, the designs of which are based on some of London's iconic landmarks such as the Albert Bridge and the London Eye along with news that Sotheby's had set a new bid record of 48.4 million dollars for a rare diamond, the Blue Moon.

Yesterday the BBC broadcast a fascinating report revealing some fascinating facts about the famous and mysterious Koh-I-Noor diamond. The 105 carat gemstone came into British hands in mid 19th century and forms part of the crown jewels on display at the Tower of London. It has two sisters: the Darya-I-Noor or Sea of Light, now in Tehran and the Great Mughal Diamond. All three diamonds left India as part of Iranian ruler Nader Shah's loot after he invaded in 1739.The original uncut Koh-I-Noor was flawed at its very heart. Yellow flecks ran through a plane at its centre which is why Prince Albert was keen to have it cut. It is only the 90th largest diamond in the world and its mystery comes from not knowing where it was found. It is certain though that it was not mined but found on a dry river bed, probably in southern India.

Both investors and architects have long been fascinated by the structure and cut of diamonds. Therefore it is not surprising to find architects often including this inspiration in their designs.

An aluminium lattice or diamond design covers Sheffield University's Faculty of Engineering described and featured in Dezeen Magazine. Twelve Architects, (picture below courtesy of their studio) created the 19,000 square meter building with new facilities for students and academics including specialist laboratories and lecture theatres. The diamond-like design is formed of aluminium sections in front of glass cladding. Where windows are needed, the diamond pattern expands.

Courtesy - Twelve Architects

Other 'diamond' designs can be found at Liverpool University where Levitt Bernstein created an energy centre providing hot water for the whole campus. The diamond shaped scales of aluminium form a cladding which provides ventilation at any point. The historic area of Victorian buildings are reflected in the design permitted by sections of glazing and also hinted at by the pitched roofs of the centre.

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