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AROUND DESIGN

Architecture and vision

Sunglasses, accessories that were invented less than a century ago – the first coloured lenses were produced in 1929 – have never been as iconic as they have over the last decade, and seem to hold a subtle attraction for architects (and industrial designers). Perhaps it’s because form and function, volume and proportions, colours and reflections are fundamental concepts in these small, everyday objects, just as they are in design. Or perhaps it is because expressing all one’s creativity and aesthetic vision in a “simple” product – as it were – is a real challenge. It is a fact that famous (and not-so-famous) archistars and designers are making a name for themselves in optical design with truly extraordinary results. Their eyewear is a true declaration of style, geometries in which the eye of the observer is caught by and navigates the play of lines and volumes and the eye of the wearer harnesses new expressive forms of identification. 

The new collections by Álvaro Siza Vieira, Studio Palomba and Serafini, Hani Rashid, Matteo Ragni, Marco Giachino and Marco Ribaldone, feature small pieces of architecture for the face. A perfect synthesis of design, architecture and nature, these glasses are conceptual works of art, not simply passing trends. There are hyper-geometric shapes – squared or perfectly round – and sinuous interweavings that set up interesting three-dimensional interplays; from minimal and avant-garde looks to hints of modern Japanese art; from the use of noble raw materials – wood and marble – to innovative cutting edge and technological materials. 

In all cases, these objects pack a powerful aesthetic and emotive punch, saying a lot about their creators but also about the people who will be sporting them this summer. 

VAVA, design by Álvaro Siza Vieira 
Vava is a sophisticated, contemporary and urban Portuguese eyewear brand. Futuristic, conceptual and timeless, the brand is strongly inspired by architecture. Squared, like buildings, VAVA eyewear treats the face like a landscape. Its partnership with Portuguese architect Álvaro Siza Vieira stems from the indisputable link between architecture and optical design. Vieira’s work has always been a great source of inspiration for the brand and their partnership has culminated in a fascinating and experimental capsule collection.

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Philippe Rouge, design by Studio Palomba + Serafini

Architecture. Design. Culture. Music. These are the spurs for Philippe Rouge Eyewear, a young sunglass brand that draws its inspiration from the world around it, from the bright lights of Tokyo to Italy’s historic cities. Its collections are metropolitan, an infinite mix of personality, design, research and fashion. The Milanese design studio Palomba + Serafini has signed the Raphaela, Renée, Albert, Janis and Francine models, a fusion of cutting edge design and choice, top raw materials.

 

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Pugnale, design by Hani Rashid

Pugnale is a handmade in Italy brand conspicuous for innovation, Italian craftsmanship and technological experimentation. This year, its journey into creative exploration continues with a new partnership that has informed the AUDREY by Hani Rashid capsule collection for Pugnale. The upshot of their coming together has produced three creations inspired by Audrey Tritto, the luxury influencer, friend and muse of Hani Rashid. Sculptural, dynamic and emblematic of boundless originality, the Fiano model is distinguished by the sinuous interweaving of lines of differing width on the front if the frame, which create 3D optical effects. Persan is optical and contemporary in spirit, standing out because of its bold character and a silhouette that challenges the very concept of geometry. Hi tech and iconic, Arilla’s front frame is embellished with a tall, contoured band of perforations, the unmistakable hallmark of the design approach of Hani Rashid’s Asymptote studio.

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Budri, design by Valerio Cometti+V12 Design

Valerio Cometti+V12 Design has come up with an eyewear collection for Budri, one of Italy’s leading marble inlay specialists. The collection is a tribute to lightness and to a design evolution in marble working; the material, rare and precious, becomes a wafer thin surface, which is then transformed into exclusive and perfectly fitting spectacles. Tactile and exciting to the touch, light and hardwearing, the collection allows its wearers to get closer to nature and comes in an astounding thousand different shades; from bright blue brushstrokes that dissolve into pastel blue streaks, to the typical colours of the rainforest – a multitude of greens that range from olive green to acid green with pronounced brown veins – to stunning brick red, yellow ochre and olive green veins on cream-hazelnut-grey backgrounds. The collection consists of five different models in a choice of surface finishes – Brillante for a glossy marble effect, Seta for a matte version and Tempo for vintage allure – and they all come in a choice of three different shades of hardware, matte black, gold and silver. 

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W-eye®, design by Doriano Mattellone and Matteo Ragni 

W-eye® was born of the encounter between Doriano Mattellone and Matteo Ragni, who explore the potential of their “favourite” raw materials when brought together to create spectacles. Wood and aluminium, both hardwearing and lightweight materials, are harnessed to craft new, strong, flexible and sustainable frames. The new collection, developed in partnership with Ma-wood, uses ALPI® wood as the main basis for the frames. Shades of grey and elegant, lively patterns ensure that the details of the collection stand out.

 

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Nuiit, design by Marco Giachino and Marco Ribaldone

Nuiit’s eyewear collections are inspired by ancient Inuit tradition and by the system employed by inhabitants of the Far North to protect their eyes from the blinding light of the long polar days.  The Inuit eye coverings made of wood or bone, true forerunners of the modern sunglasses, are special frames devoid of lenses but with a horizontal slit that screens the eye from the glare of the sun’s rays by reducing its field of vision. Nuiit has built on this, adopting the name and the design of the lenses along with Light Shadow technology. The spectacles feature a horizontal shaded strip across the glass of each lens. Made with craftsmanlike care, Nuiit spectacles feature hand-brushed acetate frames and tempered glass lenses enriched with Terre Rare, mineral substances with special optical properties. Vision is 70 times clearer, guaranteeing complete protection from direct and reflected light, even in extreme conditions. Every single pair can be tailored to the prescription needed to correct the main visual defects. Exclusive, sophisticated and elegant, these spectacles have just what it takes to make you feel unique and self-contained. 

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