The most important thing for a creative designer is to always stay curious and open

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"The Most Important Thing For A Creative Designer Is To Always Stay Curious And Open"

Silhouette is synonymous with creativity in the world of eyewear. In this issue we speak to the brain behind Silhouette’s unique eyewear designs. Here’s Roland Keplinger, Director of Design at Silhouette International in conversation with VisionPlus

Prior to joining Silhouette International, Keplinger was an industrial designer at an agency in Germany, where he developed new solutions and designs for the products of corporations such as Bosch, Kärcher, Sennheiser, and Siemens. To date, Roland Keplinger's work has been awarded with over 45 international design prizes, with patents registered for several products he has designed.

As Director of Design at Silhouette International, Roland Keplinger, oversees design for Silhouette, neubau eyewear and the sports brand evil eye. Keplinger works with a 14-person design team – consisting of product designers, colour designers and model makers, at Silhouette's headquarters in the Austrian city Linz.

In this interview, he shares insights into the creative processes that goes behind the making of these fascinating eyewear designs.

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VisionPlus (VP): What in your opinion defines a creative designer in general, and then an eyewear designer specifically?

Roland Keplinger (RK): One of the most important things for a creative designer is to always stay curious and open. It is essential to have a broad field of interests and constantly acquire knowledge which allows you to create new things by connecting to new experiences.

In addition to this, for an eyewear designer, it is particularly important to have an extensive knowledge of materials, production methods and of course a feeling for fashion trends.

VP: Tell us about your personal journey as a designer? And how did you find your way to Silhouette?

RK: Since I was young, I loved to draw, create and build things. This passion of mine led me to study industrial design where all my interests came together.

Before joining Silhouette, I worked for several years in a small German design agency designing all different kinds of products, both for well-known German brands and international brands. In those years, I was designing different kinds of products, ranging from consumer electronics and household appliances to a variety of optical products.

When I was headhunted by Silhouette, I knew instantly that it was a great opportunity for me to come back to my hometown of Linz and shape the future of such a well-known, premium brand.


VP: What is the process of creating a new successful collection? What is your workflow?

RK: Every year, together with my design team we create 400 prototypes and even more drawings, but only around 15 to 20 percent of those models find their way into the collections of our three brands (Silhouette, neubau, Evil Eye).

Of course, we work with briefings from product managers to see which target group we would be designing for. We also keep an open lab so everyone has a chance to contribute what they think would suit the brand. Together with the R&D then we work very closely to create new things.

VP: Any favourite collections?

RK: My latest favourite models are part of the Titan Accent Shade collection. I love this collection because it features the newest technology paired with typical Silhouette lightness and a great look. This collection really took our idea of Accent Rings to the next level.

VP: Tell us about the new  Venture collection that has been released recently.?

RK: The Venture collection is a line of masculine, expressive frames with a refined, sporty charm. It is designed to combine minimalist modern luxury and unparalleled lightness and comfort. It represents a perfect mix of state-of-the-art technology and high-quality materials enriched with minimalistic, clean lines and sophisticated details. It embodies understated luxury and style, expressed with thick gold plating and the finest of materials.


VP: This Venture collection is an extension of a line that has already seen success. How did it feel to be chosen to design it? What are the elements that differentiate it from the first release?

RK: Well, designing a new line for a successful collection was quite a challenge and privilege as well. When we designed the first Venture, it was already clear that its basic design with such a sleek modern temple would allow us to develop different versions. Regarding the first version, I loved the sportier approach enriched with delicate carbon fibre inlays. For this new Venture release, we decided instead to go for a more classic, elegant look, by using fine engravings and exquisite patterns.

The new Venture collection is also available with stunning finishes in a dual colour tone. This creates a beautiful interplay of lights and combines tradition with a modern masculine look.

VP: The temple design of the new Venture is very chic and refined, yet bold and masculine. How is the guilloché pattern achieved? What was the inspiration behind it?

RK: The main inspiration for the new Venture comes from precious pocket lighters and exquisite fountain pens that are traditionally decorated with those stunning guilloché patterns.

In order to perfectly craft these beautiful guilloché patterns on the temples of our Venture frames, we used modern CNC milling technology. This step is followed by several polishing processes to create a precious, rich and flawless look.

VP: How has the new collection fared so far? Is it a success?

RK: Yes, it is. It is doing very well. And we are very happy. We will be now be launching another new collection soon.


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