1st January 2012 Opened in April 2011, Klar has been mentioned and recommended to Eyestylist on a number of occasions in the last months. The shop is, for me, representative of a new wave of independent eyewear shops in Europe, run by opticians who are passionate about the collections they sell, choosing handcrafted collections and small labels to propose to their customers.
Owner of Klar (meaning “clear” in German) Akram Husseini explains how he came to set up the shop: “Darmstadt is my hometown with about 150,000 citizens, just near Frankfurt. I have worked for 14 years as an optician, but it was my dream to have a small independent shop with a selection of frames from all over the world.”
These include, at present, Lunettes Kollektion, L.G.R., Robert La Roche, Kilsgaard, Oliver Goldsmith, Graz, 141 Eyewear, Garrett Leight, Reiz, and the silver aviator with grey lenses and gold aviator with green lenses (very specifically) by military frame specialists, Randolph Engineering.
“The store is like a vintage living room with a warm atmosphere. We reconstructed the whole interior, to create a shop that moves away from the traditional stark and cold optical environment. I chose furniture and a living space that is a reflection of my own taste. I like Danish classics such as Wegner, Juhl and Jalk. The seats are from Grete Jalk (1961), and we have industrial German lighting from E.Bolich The floor is covered in old-school linoleum, which adds a vintage edge and is similar to that used in old-fashioned classrooms. We had a tie display unit from the 1950s converted to display some of the glasses. We designed table tennis racket mirrors which hang on the wall”.
What is your philosophy for how you select frames? “A frame should not disguise a person. A good collection will grow bit by bit …it has to develop slowly. I only buy brands which I really like because that is the best way to offer them to my customers. I prefer the small, independent labels which specialize in glasses.
“Names are not important to me; the spirit of a collection makes it interesting for me. If there is a good Panto style in the collection, I am usually very tempted…I fell in love with this shape 15 years ago. I always wear the traditional panto, hence the design of my shop logo.
What other kinds of glasses do you look for? “I like frames without any decoration. I prefer no logos on the temples, just perfect shapes and good quality from real eyewear companies. I don´t like redundant decorations on frames, no extra embellishments or ornateness. Most of the perfect shapes are already invented and now it´s up to the eyewear designer to interpret them for our times.”
Klar, Schulstrasse 4, 64283 Darmstadt, Germany
Photography by Florian Schüppel.