At work & home: Annette Esto at Fleye

Annette Esto, Head of Design at FLEYE Copenhagen, warmly shares her perspectives with Eyestylist, and highlights her design concepts that transcend eyewear itself…and into the beautiful FLEYE Headquarters and her homes.

What qualities and character of Danish design history – with its simplicity and subtle details – have been the most important influence for your eyewear creations and home interiors? “Danish design is renowned for its clean lines, functionality and timeless approach. I like when classics come with a twist: a bright colour or an edgy detail, despite the clean simple lines of the Danish aesthetics. This is highly reflected in my home, where for example, I have a classic Scandinavian ‘smedker’ kitchen – I combined the traditional wood work with a bright, modern orange colour. Also, in FLEYE’s eyewear design we mix classic simplicity with a twist, where tradition meets the modern in innovative ways.” (Top image: Annette Esto with art by Inka Sigel)

“I like classics with a twist” Annette’s kitchen

Enriched cultural concepts ostensibly filter into your eyewear designs – like the Smorrebrod. What other perceptions filter into your home decor, as well as frames, such as travel or other artistic inspirations? “I love artworks – especially abstract art and abstract paintings that play with powerful colours, sharp contrasts, and different materials. My favourite painting is the one I have in our entry – an oil painting by Inka Sigel where different materials are sewn through the canvas. I have always been creative beyond what has become my profession, and personally I love to make flower creations and bouquets. For FLEYE AW18 eyewear, we have actually found inspiration in Flora Danica – an iconic collection of botanical illustrations from the 18th century. Taking a fresh look at the subject, we created our own floral portraits using flowers, trees, and shrubs often seen in Danish gardens. In order to set the right mood for an Autumn & Winter campaign, we decided to freeze flowers in ice blocks, leading to rich and dense colours, as well as the structures and shapes of our newest eyewear.”

Painting by Inka Sigel – a German designer who has worked in Denmark for nearly thirty years. Different materials are sewn through the canvas.

You have a great interest in architecture. How has this inspired and cultivated interior creations in your home? “My home is a balance of traditional and modern furniture. In the dining room, I have a nice classic dining table where I have mixed Eames chairs in all kinds of different colours to give it a more personal and contemporary – yet timeless look. The same goes for the FLEYE office building, which is an old architect-designed manor house from the beginning of the 18th century. The building is protected and preserved in an old-fashioned style with high ceilings, but I have combined it with modern furniture in contemporary colours to give it a personal twist.”

Barfredshoj – the historic manor house for FLEYE Headquarters

Please tell us a brief history of the FLEYE offices and the intriguing building where frames are designed blending “urban impulses with classic simplicity.” “The FLEYE office is a historically beautiful manor house – Barfredshoj – built in 1800 by a German architect Peter Hetsch. Barfredshoj’s architecturally unique rooms and idyllic location form the setting for FLEYE’s creativity and inspiration. To me it is very important to be surrounded by nature and to have a wide and beautiful view – this is reflected in both the eyewear design, at the FLEYE office, and in my home.”

Annette with her team at FLEYE HQ

What designers most influence you in today’s constantly changing, dynamic and tech-savvy environment? “Issey Miyake because he is timeless and classic. I can wear a ten-year-old piece from Issey Miyake at a fair and still receive compliments. His clothes are designed in amazing shapes and structures, and he mixes clean lines with patterns or fun colours. It is also very functional at fairs because the clothes don’t crease or wrinkle.”

Open and airy – the kitchen in Annette’s Summerhouse

In the future, what is a design project that you would most like to create and pursue? “I will continue to work within this nice path, which my team and I have worked so hard to get to, where we keep on surprising and challenging ourselves positively as well as our customers. The next project will be to transfer this beautiful flower concept into a Spring/Summer setting for our SS19 eyewear.” www.fleye.dk JG