Design & Inspiration

The Rolf Universe

A Visit to Rolf Spectacles in the Tyrol

26th February 2014 From the first moment I met members of the Rolf team in Paris nearly five years ago, I was intrigued with these unconventional designers. This was their first show, and their “raison d’être” was to present a wooden frame. But….not just any wooden frame. this was a design with superb, beautifully sculpted craftsmanship, extremely professional, and it fit like a dream. The Rolf team (founders Roland Wolf, his partner Marija Lljazovic, her brother Martin, and Christian Wolf) had spent three years perfecting their perception of an elegant wooden frame, in the basement home of Roland and Christian’s father. Others were captivated too – Rolf Spectacles immediately won a Silmo d’Or, and people were intrigued with the beauty and construction of the design.

Discovering more of their unusual approach to eyewear over the years became evermore fascinating. With great anticipation I looked forward to visiting their headquarters in The Tyrol in Austria. Rolf had successfully emerged from the basement gathering international clients and more awards, to become an important player on the global eyewear scene. Nestled in the mountains, the outside of the sprawling Rolf structure looks like many commercial sites; however, enter the building, and a new universe unfolds – the Rolf World of amazing eyewear. The office dogs Jeremy and Lola add to the overall cosiness and casualness of the premises. However, behind this carefree ambience, is a team of extremely dedicated and hardworking people, committed to making superior handcrafted frames. There is a delightful camaraderie among the staff, and a purposeful atmosphere in the air.

 

Elegant Authenticity - oak and maple frames by ROLF
Elegant Authenticity – oak and maple frames by ROLF

Meticulous attention to detail is evident in the creation of each frame. The gluing room is acclimatized; sanding is done to perfection; and the quality control is evident with each frame microchipped so it can be monitored if necessary. Employees are trained over a period of several months to develop the skills and concentration that are required in producing the frames. The Rolf team makes most of the tools themselves used in creating the frames, while even humble instruments like tweezers also play an important role in the final product.

Mary Lljazovic is a construction engineer, which has served her well in developing the frames. “When we started making the frames, we thought we would stay in the cellar,” says Mary, “as we   didn’t know what the reaction of the market would be. When the business began to grow, we had temporary offices: but it’s necessary to have enough space to build a structure, and work on research and development. We did it all, so we know what is involved. It used to be organised chaos, but now we are more structured.”

 

Visit J.F.Rey
ROLF Spectacles
Götti Switzerland
MOREL par Jean Nouvel
Article One
NINA MUR
Oliver Goldsmith
Tools of the Trade at Rolf Spectacles
Tools of the Trade at Rolf Spectacles

Nature and conservation are vital ingredients in everything Rolf pursues. Nothing goes to waste in the Rolf environment; a purpose is found for everything. “We like to influence people in a positive way,” says Bernie Wolf, who joined the family business as sales director, “and travelling so much I see the pollution in places like China. We are lucky to live in a country like Austria where people look after things.” Collecting and restoring old cars is a Rolf hobby. “We love classic cars,” Mary explains, “and every frame is inspired by a vintage car, including the technical features and design. There can be a lot of stress, but it would be boring if everything worked well all the time!” she says with a laugh.

“To break the stress, I take time with the horses and the dogs; think about the frames, and then it comes naturally. The frames are our passion, our love. We want to present wood in a new way; and it took almost three years to get the frames the way we wanted. The Rolf customer is between 18 and 85 years of age. We have a broad spectrum, so it is proof that the collection is well designed.”

 

Nature's Bounty - Handcrafted Stone by Rolf Spectacles
Nature’s Bounty – Handcrafted Stone by Rolf Spectacles

To the original wood designs, Rolf has added incredible frames in stone. The Rolf legend continues to grow and expand. Roland Wolf says: “I’m a crazy guy; I like to try new things and it’s fun to experiment. You know, I can do the glasses, but I still don’t know how to work a cell phone!” www.rolf-spectacles.com JG

The Elegance and Beauty of Natural Horn

Sophisticated and Subtle Eyewear Excellence

30th January 2014 Men need look no further than the elegance and natural beauty of horn to make a distinct eyewear style statement. The richness and colour harmony of this luxurious material has fascinated eyewear creators since Horn was first used for frames in Germany in the 16th Century. Here are three superb examples that show the illustrious virtues of horn. Nature, conservation, and the appreciation of resources are in the genes of the Rolf Team, as they develop and produce amazing frames in their Tyrol atelier. Their horn creations are sculptural beauties elegantly crafted with finesse and precision. Majestic (above) is Pure Horn, created without metal or other additional materials. Horn is a highly sensitive natural product, and exactitude in its process is an absolute must. Pure Horn – pure perfection. www.rolf-spectacles.com

 Eyewear Art in Horn by Sven Götti

Eyewear Art in Horn by Sven Götti

Working in beautiful, natural materials has always been keynote for Sven Götti at Götti Switzerland. When he started designing, his first frames were crafted in Horn. Blaze (above) is among the latest designs – a suave, gracious shape that artfully illustrates the gorgeous shadings and lovely, natural lustre that are inherent in horn. www.gotti.ch

 

BLACKFIN
ERKERS est 1879 USA
SALT.
ROLF Spectacles
Oliver Goldsmith
EOE Sustainable Eyewear from Swedish Lapland
Hall of Frames 4. September 2022 Lucerne Museum of Transport
Refined handcrafted horn by Amaury
Refined handcrafted horn by Amaury

Parisian based Amaury Cagniard is a newcomer to frame design, and he enjoys working in authentic materials – Horn being a special favourite. This contemporary two-tone handcrafted Horn frame (above Style AAE Horn) with its refined lines, expresses Amaury’s desire for details and uniqueness. www.amaury.eu.com JG

Resort Mood…..

Sunnies for Tropical Destinations

30th December 2013 If the seaside – not snowy slopes – is your idea of a winter holiday, here are two ravishing sunglasses with style and glamour to enjoy wearing in sunny climes. Christian Roth’s dashing design has a vintage air with its beautifully curved shape. Pale blue acetate is accented with a cocoa insert on the frame front. And you can purchase this lovely frame NOW – through Eyestylist at www.christian-roth.com – click and order directly through their online shop.

 

TVR advert 2021 linked to the TVR website
Götti Switzerland
ROLF Spectacles
VAVA Eyewear
OGI Eyewear
lafont
Hall of Frames 4. September 2022 Lucerne Museum of Transport
Italian Elegance - Zazie by LGR
Italian Elegance – Reunion by LGR

Among holiday joys is having the time to leisurely browse in galleries, museums, and shops. Look particularly chic in LGR’s smart design – Reunion  – in smooth acetate. The round shape in elegantly crafted acetate is gracefully voluminous – all handmade in Italy. www.lgr-sunglasses.com JG

Winter Festivities!

Celebrating the Holidays with Eyewear Designers

Winter celebrations and festivities come in many varieties. Eyestylist asked several designers to share with us how they mark winter celebrations. The series begins with American designer Shane Baum, at Leisure Society. – Above:  Shane’s daughters enjoy the snow at Jackson Hole Wyoming.

How do you usually spend the Christmas/winter holidays? “I spend the holidays with family and friends in Palm Springs, California. It’s two hours from my home, but significantly warmer and sunnier.”

Do you have particular traditions that are part of the celebrations? Food? Decorations? “In the United States, we love our Christmas trees donned with ornaments and Santa Claus is really big, no pun intended! One tradition our family has passed on for generations is the making of a drink “Tom and Jerry’s” (a variation of eggnog) on Christmas morning. My grandfather, John Breen, was a great family patriarch and insisted that it was a position of honour to make, and taste the batter as you make this drink.”

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Have you and your family/friends created your own traditions? “Well, in Palm Springs, I have a lot of friends that are in the desert over the holidays, and we typically play golf and tennis, and soak in some sun.”

Visit J.F.Rey
EOE Sustainable Eyewear from Swedish Lapland
Oliver Goldsmith
Hall of Frames 4. September 2022 Lucerne Museum of Transport
SILMO Paris The Optical Fair 23 to 26 September 2022 Paris Nord Villepinte
BLACKFIN
Carlotta's Village
TVR advert 2021 linked to the TVR website
SEA2SEE - What if wearing glasses could save our seas? 100% Sea Plastic 100% made in Italy 100% Seastainable
MOREL par Jean Nouvel

Is there a particular celebration with special memories that stands out for you – as a child? As an adult? “As a child, we would always go to my grandparent’s house for Christmas. I have very fond memories of this; I loved them very, very much. My grandfather would always sleep on his fold out chair while we played with our toys. I think maybe enjoying the Tom and Jerry’s helped this process!”

Is there anything else you would like add about the merry season? “I think it’s always a great time to be thankful for all the gifts we are given in life. I am so grateful for all the talented, kind people I get to work with, my sweet and loving family, and my great friends that always make the holidays a memorable time.” www.leisure-society.com JG

Photo above: Shane Baum and friends pretend it’s Christmas in Newport Beach, California – where there is no snow – with a “Gefälshte” – a fake ski party!

Designers Off Duty

Ciro Tugnoli Takes to the Road on a Vespa!

29th November 2013 Continuing our series on “Designers Off Duty” – Blue Magic Eye designer Ciro Tugnoli shares his Vespa Rally adventures with Eyestylist.

“Vespa is the traditional scooter in Italy since forever….I started with my first Vespa at eighteen years old – not as young as people usually start. I began with an old one from my brother. I took part in my first “Vespata” in 2003. There are several Vespa weekends and meetings around the world, but I usually take part in the one that is held every year – usually in May in Bologna. It’s not really an official Vespa weekend; it’s more a crew of friends that plan a “clandestine” ride across the Bologna hills. We meet each other (I think we are about 300 Vespas) in a Bologna city centre square, and after a quick ride in the city centre (where people look at us with a lot of curiosity!), we start to climb the hills across the city. We drive for approximately 40km. It’s quite hard to drive a 50cc Vespa, sometimes with two people on it (Guya Montermini Blue Magic Eye Design Partner often accompanies Ciro), climbing the small streets up to the hills.

 

Oliver Goldsmith
ROLF Spectacles
OGI Eyewear
MOREL par Jean Nouvel
SALT.
Visit J.F.Rey
Hall of Frames 4. September 2022 Lucerne Museum of Transport
Vespa Variations! Ready to Roll in Bologna Italy
Vespa Variations! Ready to Roll in Bologna Italy

“Luckily, several stops are planned where we can enjoy a beer, a glass of wine and some music….The finish line is in Lojano, in a countryside manor called Palazzo Loup. This is where we usually eat some sandwiches with “mortadella” or some “pasta al ragû”, and we can just relax and enjoy the sun. This is also the place where the real competition takes place. Only the bravest can take part at “Gimkana” – a grass track full of the unexpected! I would love to collect vintage Vespas, but it’s an expensive passion and a lot of space is needed to store them. You must ride your vespa – not leave her inside a box. At the moment I have two: a PX50 from 1982 – my first Vespa – and a Vespa 50’s from 1960. I’m thinking about a bigger one – maybe 125/150cc – we’ll see what I’ll ride next springtime……” www.bluemagiceye.com JG