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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