All in the Family with Austrian Creators
1st November 2012 The spectacular beauty of the Austrian Tyrol region, and a fascination with classic cars, has produced one of the more unusual – and successful collaborations in eyewear. A chat with any member of the Rolf team usually begins with how beautiful the weather/scenery/trees/snow is in their area. Rolf founders – Roland Wolf, his partner Marija Lljazovic, Marija’s brother Martin, and Christian Wolf (above photo, left to right) – draw upon nature’s mountainous bounty and beauty to create their eyewear. I’ve had the pleasure to chat with Christian on various occasions, and most recently, with Christian’s brother Bernhard, who is Sales Director, during SILMO. Bernhard reiterated how the Tyrol area has influenced their work. “Our parents are natives of this region, and our love of the land is the foundation for our frame creations, with trees and stone enabling us to realise our dream of perfect natural eyewear,” says Bernhard.
Rolf Spectacles burst onto the eyewear scene in 2009 with beautiful wood frames sourced from the Tyrol – and immediately they won a Silmo d’Or, and again in 2010. They won two Red Dot Awards (2010 and 2012); they received the Eyewear of the Year Award in Japan this year; and last month, Rolf Spectacles were the Gold winners in the Hall of Frames/Eyestylist.com Newcomer Awards. Very impressive for a three year old company! The other driving force for Rolf Spectacles is old cars – because decades ago, cars were made by hand. “Nowadays, only a few car companies build cars by hand – this happens everywhere – also in the optical business,” says Christian, “however, at Rolf, everything is made by hand, and crafting just one pair of glasses requires hours of handwork, and a high degree of craftsmanship. The sanding stages require lots of concentration and precision.
“At Rolf, we are always searching for new materials that correspond with the company’s philosophy of using natural sources. One of our challenges was to try a material that was not yet used in eyewear. So stone is the perfect addition to our wood and bamboo frames, since stone also offers unique characteristics.” Rolf Spectacles adhere to the fine traditions of classic crafting and detailing precision, and these qualities are realised in each innovative design in natural materials. www.rolf-spectacles.com JG