aTE, the international fair for avant-garde eyewear, will take place from Saturday 11th to Monday 13th September in Florence, at the Leopolda station. The event aims to be a strategic meeting opportunity, attracting companies which are known worldwide for their eyewear innovation and design, for their exclusive and selected products.
As the ninth edition of DaTE approaches, we have interviewed some of the key players. In this interview we meet Pedro Silva fron the Portuguese brand Vava.Shaping the avant-garde is the essence of DaTE. What is the essence of your brand and how do you interpret the avant-garde?
VAVA is inspired by minimalism in art and architecture, with a keen interest for the Bauhaus movement and minimalism. Our designs share the same minimalistic and architectural approach. On the other hand, VAVA concept is closely linked to the “post-industrial” society in which we live, and the growing belief of belonging to a “post-human” age. Playing around people’s imaginary and “science fiction” the designs are very much inspired by futuristic characters. This figure helped VAVA to create a unisex silhouette and a monochromatic figure. Ultimately, VAVA aims to achieve a contemporary basic look that is at the same time conceptual and timeless.
Materials are a key element of unique and original collections which do not neglect sustainability. Which ones have you chosen for the DaTe 2021 collections?
High-tech materials are at the core of this more conscious design process, incorporating new materials that embody environmental responsibility and sustainability. In addition to our standard sustainable acetate M49 from Mazzucchelli VAVA presents for first time at DATE a capsule collection of 3D-printed frames in high quality polyamide bio-based powder, made from castor oil, using a process called laser sintering. Rilsan® Invent is a natural polyamide 11 fine powder made from a 100% renewable source (castor beans). Castor oil is a high-performance and sustainable material extracted from the seeds of the castor plant.
There is no direct competition with food systems because castor has no nutritional value and because castor grows in arid regions, where there is little forest growth, there is no deforestation. Castor beans are drought resistant and are considered a “Kharif crop”; a plant who takes advantage of the Indian monsoon rain cycles. The castor beans used to produce oil for our bio-based plastic are sourced from a cooperative of certified farmers in the Gujarat region of India. The farmers are part of sustainable farming initiatives and have received training to improve their skills and help them cultivate plants and crops in an ecological manner. The beans are openly traded in public auction yards across India. Farmers can choose to sell now or sell later, which protects them against market price fluctuations.
Exclusivity, transgression, design. These are all concepts that have distinguished DaTE since its birth. In which one does your brand find itself most and why?
For us “exclusive product” means making something unique in terms of design, manufacturing and materials. VAVA designs are based in three principals: function, concept, design. The perfect combination of these 3 elements confers great uniqueness / exclusivity to our designs. VAVA collection is handmade at a small family-owned Italian factory as we pride ourselves in avoiding mass production. The frames are made of cellulose acetate from the Italian brand Mazzuchelli. VAVA is using their exclusive “eco-friendly” line M49 (entirely recyclable). Another key aspect of our product is the use of crystal lenses. VAVA uses Barberini lenses exclusively. We are also unique in using flat lenses across the whole sun wear range. The hinge is made of Aluminum by a high grade industrial milling and grinding process.
How does the Italian market perceive eyewear with high level of design, focused on craftsmanship and high-tech?
I believe Italian market is one the most advanced in the world in terms of independent design, and not just in eyewear. Italian opticians have been educating for many years the market, offering original designs and concepts and, on the other hand, the customers also are much more open to new ideas then the average, taking much more risks than for example German consumers. The combination of these two aspects make Italy a much more design and fashion forward market then most of the markets. The fact that Italy has for many year a great design and fashion industry made Italian market as a whole very sophisticated and sensitive to avant-garde design and design of excellence. Finally, Italy is one of the few countries in the world with a strong background and legacy in the handmade eyewear, this knowhow has pass over the generation and today Italian producers can fosters a dialogue between crafts and high tech, producing frames that preform as well as they look, using state-of-the-art manufacturing technology and contemporary design principals.