Marc Newson, a famed industrial designer whose eclectic projects span from furniture to timepieces, has collaborated with the Italian manufacturer Safilo to create an exclusive eyewear collection that includes both optical frames and sunglasses.

The collaboration was announced last June as Safilo wanted to launch a new collection in honour of its 80th anniversary. It hoped that a synergy with Newson would result in a line that perfectly combines tradition and innovation, know-how and design – all the values that identify its brand.

“I wanted to honour the ethos of Safilo and to reflect it in my design. Safilo is an old and highly respected company and it is always important for me to understand and explore the heritage of the company I am working with,” says Newson.

Before putting pen to sketch pad, Newson delved through the Safilo archives. His aim was to reinterpret the past in a contemporary way. He discovered one historical frame that focused his thinking.

“I wanted my range to be essentially one central design from which I extrapolated five variations by combining different specific techniques, patents and materials to create this capsule collection of five optical frames and two pairs of sunglasses,” he explains.

Some of these unique features and technologies include the use of the ultra-lightweight material Optyl, which is used on its own or in combination with the new Elasta 80 hinge, the reinterpretation of the historical UFO collection with its extremely thin steel wire frame as well as the use of lightweight solid aluminium and pressed stainless steel combinations.

Of course, Newson had to also inject his own DNA into the collection and together with the metallic shades and royal blue there is also a frame in Newson’s signature colour – orange.

Newson is pleased with how the collection has turned out and, in fact, is already wearing a pair himself. “It is only now that I have hit the big 50 that glasses are rapidly becoming an essential part of my life. They are like a tool – and we designers love tools.

“The fascinating thing about eyewear is that it is a perfect example of an item that crosses the boundaries of fashion, design, science and technology. Eyewear is fashion, whether you like it or not – no-one wants to go about wearing something that is functional but not particularly stylish,” says Newson.

“But it is also important that the glasses are comfortable to wear – light yet robust, and that the prescription is perfect. The disciplines of science, design, technology and fashion come together in this one small item.”

The capsule collection, Safilo by Marc Newson, was recently launched in Italy and is currently being distributed worldwide through an exclusive network including retailers and opticians.


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