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Lightness, comfort and durability are just some of the factors that go into making each pair of Silhouette glasses, the masterpiece that it is. VisionPlus speaks to internationally acclaimed designer Roland Keplinger, associated with Silhouette eyewear, about his designs, inspirations and upcoming creations…
Vision Plus (VP): You are a celebrated designer holding 40+ international design prizes, how does that feel?
Roland Keplinger (RK): feels amazing to be awarded, but that isn’t my main motive. I strive to bring out the best designs, designs that satisfy the customers, designs that make them feel unique and good about themselves. To see someone happy in my designs makes me happy and that, for me, is the real prize!
VP: Was being in the optical design field your plan all along?
RK: As a child, I wanted to be an inventor, a creator, and I was pretty creative as a kid. Here at Silhouette, I channel my creativity into my designs. Though it wasn’t the exact plan, it is pretty much the same and I love my job here.
VP: Tell us about your work with Silhouette.
RK: I started as an industrial designer in a small agency and it was a ‘happy accident’ that I was found by Silhouette ten years later. My experience in the optical field started with safety glasses and concepts for frames similar to Google Glass. All those years I worked intensely with products that are worn on heads like headsets and frames.
VP: The design aspect in eyewear is very challenging. What do you enjoy most about designing for Silhouette? As a chief designer, what challenges do you face during the design process?
RK: I love to design products for people, products that become a personal item. At Silhouette I appreciate the technical aspect as well; it’s not only form, it’s the combination of form, function and the knowledge of material treatment that gives a product its differentiating characteristics. It’s this minimalistic design approach that’s very appealing but at times becomes very challenging.
VP: Where do you and your team draw inspiration from while creating these innovative designs? Do you have days when you hit a creative block?
RK: Inspiration comes from everywhere – fashion, architecture, travel and nature to name some. I’ve also always been fascinated by car headlights and the lines; they’ve never failed inspire me. And yes, there are days without any new ideas. Then it’s time to track ongoing projects or to start research.
VP: Please tell us about the new TMA icon. Silhouette claims it is the most preferred eyewear used by NASA in space.
RK: We constantly improve our design classic. The simple reasons why the TMA is so often used in space are:
- It’s lightweight (TMA icon weighs 1.8 grams whereas a normal full rim frame weighs around 20 grams).
- It has no screws and no hinges, so there are no parts that can get loose.
- The perfect fit. It simply fits so well.
VP: Silhouette offers hundreds of different lens and frame style combinations. What makes the Accent Rings collection so special?
RK: With the Accent Rings we interpret rimless eyewear in a completely new way. Classic shapes get more contoured, Accent Rings with cut-outs create tension and feminine shapes get a visual overhaul. The translucent colors underline the lightness of this innovation and go perfectly along with the Silhouette design language – but also open new possibilities. The Accent Rings define a new category in eyewear, neither rimless nor full-rim.
VP: The Titan Minimal Art (TMA) styles have been showcasing unique and edgy shapes and color combinations. What type of person do you design it for when creating these collections?
RK: With the new shapes and colours we show that rimless frames can be worn in a very fashionable, young way. The collection is targeting open-minded wearers regardless of age. It is an ideal choice for people who like experimenting with their look!
VP: With a million colors in the color palette, how do you shortlist the perfect few? How do you ensure that the perfect shade meets the perfect shape?
RK: The color is one of the most important aspects of a pair of glasses. Sometimes the design and the color might look good together when kept on the table but is awful when you put it on. We have a dedicated design team consisting of designers and color designers. Together we make sure to have the right contemporary shapes combined with the right colors. We combine our research of color trends with the knowledge of skin tones and facial shapes to find the perfect match.
VP: Amongst all your creations, which ones are you most proud of and why?
RK: At the moment I’m really proud of our TMA Accent Rings. It’s such a smart, simple idea that creates a new look. They look so effortless but it took quite a while to find the right properties and production methods!
VP: What kind of innovative designs should we be expecting in the upcoming year? Any special breakthroughs in the next Silhouette collection?
RK: We have just started to explore the possibilities of the Accent Rings and you can be sure that we are already working on a lot of other ideas in that direction. New look, new material, new version.
VP: Could you give our readers some tips on choosing the perfect eyewear for their face shape?
RK: Make sure that the lens shape follows your eyebrows and the pupil is centered.
Oval shaped faces can wear most shapes.
Square shaped faces should try softer shapes: round, oval, and panto styles.
Heart shaped faces can go rounder and square, but cat-eye is difficult.
Round shaped faces should try more rectangle and geometric styles.
Pilot and Wayfarer frames suit most face types.
Apart from all the technicality, if you like it, it suits you. As long as you feel good, you look good!