Wood-on-steel frames, first introduced by Lucas de Staël, made their debut in the world of luxury eyewear some time ago, but more recently – two-and-a-half years ago to be exact – Dutch company C-ZONE decided to make the same look available to those with a more modest budget.
The new line was such a hit that C-Zone has since expanded its range of eyeglass models with wood lamination inlays. In fact, the company is set to release a new model with a curved wooden lamination at the Vision Expo West in September.
Given the success of these mid-priced eyeglass frames ($227 at Providence Optical), we decided to publish an interview with C-Zone owner and designer Rob Maas to tell us about the concept behind this popular trend.
Why wood-on-metal frames?
“C-ZONE is a collection of metal frames. We use it as our base material, but we always combined it with other materials like acetate and silicone. A few years ago, we saw that there was a growing interest in glasses made out of wood.
But we also heard about 2 negative aspects of wooden frames. First of all, they are rather expensive. Not everybody can afford it. But also, it was not possible to adjust a wooden frame to a face.
We came with a concept that is more affordable and still has that feel of a wooden frame: wood lamination inlay on a metal frame. From its introduction, it’s been hugely popular.”
But what is wood lamination exactly?
“I guess that everybody’s familiar with wood lamination as a material on the floor in one’s home. This is sort of the same. It is chopped off wood, pressed and plasticized. The wood has become a plastic sheet of dead wood so to speak. This also enables the optician to bend the metal/wood combination to adjust it to the face of a patient. And people do not have to worry; you can put the frames in the ultra-sonic cleaners.
We work with three types of wood: oak (brown sheet), birch (grey sheet) and mahogany (reddish sheet).
Metal and wood…doesn’t that make a frame rather heavy?
“Not in our case. For the metal part, we use a bit of thinner stainless steel than we normally use. Normally, this thickness is too weak to be a regular pair of glasses, but in combination with the wood lamination, the frame become strong enough. But in fact, it is so light-weight the material is often mistaken for titanium.”
So, the concept is still popular after 2.5 years?
“Absolutely. But we do develop. Like for model G2190 we came up with 2 types of wood lamination in one frame. And at Vision Expo West, we will come up with frame H2202. For the first time, we are now able to curve the wood lamination on the front end. This gives a total different look.”
The C-ZONE collection is famous for its colors, but in that sense wood is not very C-ZONE like, is it?
“But we still have the metal part to spice up the frame. We combine the wood with contrasting colours like a lipstick red, a midnight blue or a shiny silver. Exactly, these became the bestsellers. But for the more traditional customers, we also offer them in a chocolate brown and stylish black. You can’t go wrong with this one. That’s why I still enjoy wearing my G2190 in color 10.”
If you think wood-on-metal is genius, how about denim-on-steel? C-Zone has a whole separate line of eyewear based on this concept. Both collections are ready for you to explore here at Providence Optical.