Highway Overpass Meets Contemporary Necklace: A New Line of Eyewear Is Born

Ludwig

Contemporary Jewelry:  Sleek, modern, textured, bold, eye-catching, innovative, whimsical.

Road Architecture:  Strong, functional, textured, utilitarian, monochromatic, plain, sometimes ugly.

What do the two have in common?  Look closely.  It’s all about texture.  And  Jacqueline Lung found an incredibly innovative way to bring these two media together.

The Steinar frame is made of steel and real concrete, yet it's light enough to wear.  Photo by Patrick Han.

Lung’s Steinar frame is made of real concrete, yet it’s light enough to wear. Photo by Patrick Han (cargocollective.com/patrickhan).

The Ludwig frame celebrates industrial I-beams as both structure and decor.  Photo by Patrick Han (cargocollective.com/patrickhan).

The Ludwig frame celebrates industrial I-beams as both structure and decor. Photo by Patrick Han.

It all started in Lung’s freshman year at RISD (Rhode Island School of Design), when she fell in love with metalworking, particularly fine details, which add texture to smooth metallic surfaces.  Lung initially worked on jewelry and tableware designs.  And then something strange and wonderful happened:  She discovered eyewear as the nexus of jewelry and function – an accessory that serves a necessity and also conveys the personality of the wearer.  Lung explains:

I believe that … eyewear acts as a symbol of a persona … The relationship between eyewear and its wearer is symbiotic. On one hand the wearer desires the personality of the materials embodied in the eyewear, and on the other hand, the personality of the materials calls for activation by the wearer.

For her RISD Degree Project, Lung took a bold step.  She decided to incorporate boring industrial materials — such as steel, concrete and even duct tape — into her eyewear designs to elevate their status and challenge eyeglass wearers to think about these materials in a new way.  In her handmade line of eyewear, Industrial Spectacles, Lung brings out the hidden beauty in these materials.  Says Lung:

Gunta, 2016. Polycabonate, duct tape

Shiny, ugly duct tape transforms into a soft, velvety, grey textile. Concrete presents itself as delicate graphic elements, rather than as massive spacious structures in which we reside. Parts of screws that are normally hidden below the surface are displayed, remaining functional while destabilizing the expectation of how they could be used. The hidden character of these materials are given agency as they rise to the surface and become accessible in the format of eyewear.

Each frame in Lung’s new collection bears a name that reflects its featured material.

Archytas playfully showcases screws as a design element. Photo by Patrick Han

Archytas playfully showcases screws as a design element. Photo by Patrick Han

– Archytas: named after Archytas of Tarentum, an ancient Greek mathematician who is often credited as the inventor of screws

– Steinar: a Scandinavian name that combines “stone” and “warrior, referencing concrete and  its origins

– Ludwig: named after Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, paying homage to his extensive use of I beams in architecture as both structural and decorative elements

Akira blends steel and  duct tape into sleek shape with velvety texture.  Photo by Patrick Han.

Akira blends steel and duct tape into sleek shape with velvety texture. Photo by Patrick Han.

– Akira: named after Akira Yoshizawa, a Japanese origami master, reflecting the foldable structure created by steel and duct tape in this piece

– Gunta: named after Gunta Stölzl, who was a Bauhaus weaving master, in reference to the duct tape weave structure.

Lung’s Archytas spectacles with mirror sun lenses are available at RISD Works store and  at www.jacquelinelung.com
Dare to see yourself – and these materials – differently!

Archytas

Archytas, 2016. Steel

OpticMag, June 2016 Jackie Lung

Special feature in “ОПТИЧЕСКИЙ Magazine” (OPTICmag), Moscow, Russia JUNE 2016 Публикация в журнале “ОПТИЧЕСКИЙ Magazine”, июнь 2016

You Asked for It, We Have It: Luxury Eyewear Made in America

State Optical.It sounds like a classic tale of the American dream and yet it’s contemporary.  Jason Stanley and Marc Franchi (who are cousins, by the way) bought a tiny optical business called Frieze Frames in Ventura, California back in 2009.  Their dream was to create a line of luxury eyewear not only headquartered or designed in America, but actually manufactured in the USA.  Everyone told them why it wouldn’t work – the high cost of labor, the lack of people skilled in the trade, you name it.  But, like true heroes, they didn’t just give up.  By visiting eyewear factories in France, Italy and China, they gained expertise in the manufacturing process and indeed brought it to America, albeit on a small scale.

Then, in 2013, Stanley and Franchi’s superior American product caught the attention of the big eyewear firm Europa International, which had tried, unsuccessfully, to woo overseas partners to open up manufacturing lines in the US because American consumers were asking for eyewear made in America.  The Frieze Frames’ owners’ passion and dedication was just what Europa was looking for and a partnership was born:  State Optical Company. Please watch this video:

 http://www.chicagotribune.com/bluesky/originals/ct-state-optical-frame-makers-bsi-20160311-story.html#

State EyewearTogether, the new partners enlisted the aid of experienced frame designer Blake Kuwahara, who created 12 ophthalmic and six sunglass frames for the STATE’s “Made in America” collection, which made its official debut last September.  Kuwahara’s vision was brought to life in a beautiful new state-of-the art facility outside Chicago where specially trained American workers undertake at least 35 steps to produce each frame (and up to 70 steps for ultra-luxury models).  Over 50% of the production is done by hand in a painstaking process that requires a full two weeks.  These frames are not molded, but rather are cut from blocks of material, then the details are cut into the frame and the pieces are hand polished.  The texture and balance of the frame, along with superior machined metal components, gives a luxury aesthetic and tactile experience.

State Eyewear

21 drilled holes to represent Illinois, which was the 21st State to enter the Union.

These classic, sleek and yet elegant acetate frames bear a logo with special meaning.  At the end of each temple, you’ll find a pyramid of 21 points that are drilled into the frame and then filled with a contrasting color epoxy.  Why 21?  Because Illinois, home of the new US factory, is the 21st state.

Planning a summer vacation to the Midwest?  STATE Optical welcomes visitors to its Chicago-area plant.  That’s right; you don’t have to be a business owner or an eye doctor.  All are welcome to witness the beginning of what STATE hopes will be a new wave of products manufactured in America.

State Factory in Chicago

We’re proud to offer STATE Optical’s high quality, luxury eyewear line.  Come see for yourself what Made in America really means.

State Optical chalkboard on Westminster St, Providence

State Optical chalkboard on Westminster St, Providence

Don’t be fooled by the name: “Conservatoire International de Lunettes”

Alfredo Salazar, Paris-based Mexico-born photographer  in model 404 by Conservatoire International de Lunettes.

As we introduce New Englanders to an amazing and diverse collection that we discovered on a trip to Europe last month, we thought it appropriate to explain a little about the name Conservatoire International de Lunettes, which playfully juxtaposes truth and a little bit of fantasy.

Further seems forever, by Carlotta Cattaneo, an Italian graphic designer. Interpretation of model 107 for Conservatoire International de Lunettes.

Truth:  It really does involve a conservatory  –  not just one creator, but a whole school of artists, philosophers (yes, philosophers!) and entrepreneurs with brilliant minds and incredible talent.  These frames express their varied cultural backgrounds and professional experiences of their creators. Artists from all over the world came with their diverse style and methods to illustrate their personal vision of Conservatoire glasses. They incorporated Conservatoire in  their art works.

 

To see or not to see by Luca Rossato, an Italian photographer. Model 107 for Conservatoire International de Lunettes.

Truth:  The Conservatoire International de Lunettes collection embraces the classics, like tortoiseshell acetate, and marries it to modern creativity, like transparent layered color inside the frame, or thin metal temples.  The result is classic reinterpreted in a sleek, sophisticated style.

   

 

Fiction:  The name Conservatoire International de Lunettes is French, but the company is Italian, based in Milan, fashion mecca and home of the finest optical acetate products in the world.

Visit us to experience the very best of Italian craftsmanship, design, technology and fashion.

Made in Italy 2.0 – Sleek and Innovative

Sleek, thin and made of high quality materials — Italia Independent delivers it all.

The I-Velvet line looks and feels like real velvet, but it’s a lot more durable.

Some of the world’s most covetable goods are “Made in Italy.” Italy has long been famous for exquisite leather accessories, high fashion, and craftsmanship. And our most recent addition is no exception. A little known fact is that Italy is renowned among eyeglass manufacturers for high quality and artistically dramatic plastics.  And now, Italy is home to an amazing and innovative eyeglass manufacturer: Italia Independent, which has declared that its mission is to raise the image of Italian manufacturing techniques to “Made in Italy 2.0.”  Perhaps not surprisingly, the company was created by Lapo Elkann, grandson of Fiat’s founder — after he rescued granddad’s auto company from the brink of extinction.

It doesn’t get any thinner than this!

If you want high fashion, but you don’t like chunky frames, this new brand of eyewear may be exactly what you’re looking for. Italia Independent – or II as the company likes to call itself – specializes in sleek, lightweight designs with materials that you won’t be able to stop touching.  The I-Velvet line, for example, has a special UV LUX® treatment that feels just like velvet, but it’s not fragile.  It’s scratchproof and fade resistant.  I-Thin Metal eyewear products are super light and have a rubber matte coating that gives them a soft touch.  If you want glasses that are barely there, yet still stylish, you might just fall in love with II’s I-Thin line, which features frames only 1.6 mm in width,  in both metal and plastic, with a wide range of transparent and opaque color options.

II sunwear is available in regular or prescription lenses.

We’re pleased to offer a broad selection of II’s products.  Come touch them for yourself and fall in love.