Cycling eyewear design: reduced to the essentials

During his apprenticeship as a constructor, Simon, our designer and product developer, was taught that a good constructor designs products in such a way that they break after a certain period of use. Planned obsolescence is the technical jargon for this. In our opinion, that’s absolute bullshit! Our cycling glasses are designed to last. We met Simon for an interview and wanted to know what the formula of minimalist design is, which design principles he follows and what his aims are in terms of circular design.

Simon, what characterises your design language?

Honesty and simplicity. The frame consists of only three elements: A front, two temples and four pins. The hinge is completely integrated into the frame. The front and temples interlock and are fixed with two pins on each side.

Sounds quite simple.

In our society, the dominant opinion is that more is always better. The great art of good design, however, is to do without anything that makes a product unnecessarily complicated. That’s what we measure ourselves by: the simplicity and intuitive handling of our sports eyewear.

«Good design is honest.» Design Principle No. 6 by Dieter Rams

You are guided by the 10 design principles of industrial designer Dieter Rams. Which is the most important design principle?

There are always two perspectives on design: From the user’s perspective, the product should be as simple and intuitive as possible. From my perspective as a developer and designer, a product is always a symbiosis of functionality and aesthetics. To be guided by only one principle does not meet my ambition. The goal – and this is at the same time the high art – is to unite all ten principles. For me, it is primarily a matter of form follows function. Because without perfect function, a product will not be used in the long run.

One of the principles is «Good design is as little design as possible». What does Rams mean by that?

This principle is very central. I always ask myself, what can I leave out without losing functionality? Why add another component or material if there is a different way? I want to simplify and design comprehensible products. For me, the greatest compliment is when someone looks at our sports glasses and says: «Actually, that’ s logical».

«Good design is as little design as possible.» Design Principle No. 10 by Dieter Rams

How do you implement this?

We focus on low product complexity, which makes our glasses less vulnerable. Our glasses are designed to be put together easily – and more importantly – to be easily disassembled into their individual components. So we can ensure that spare parts can be replaced in no time. This increases the service life and is our contribution to the sustainable use of our resources.

Die ILEVE DISTRICT Radbrillen haben ein zeitlosese Design, sind modular aufgebaut und sind langlebig

What are your main tasks as a product developer?

In the holistic view. Product design is not only about the actual use, but also about the materials, the manufacturing process, the production site and what happens to a product at the end of its life cycle. Is it a linear product that is thrown away at the end? Or can the materials be reused and returned to the cycle? We consistently pursue the latter approach – even though there is still a long way to go.

Circularity – what does that mean in particular?

In circular approaches, three aspects are central: design, materiality and customer behaviour. In terms of design, we have done our homework. Our sports eyewear can be dismantled into its components in a few simple steps and disposed of or recycled properly. Now we are focusing on the material. We are currently evaluating renewable raw materials in order to be able to produce more sustainably. Finally, the use of the product also matters: will we still sell glasses in the future? Or will we rent them out? These are questions that are currently keeping us busy.

«Good design is long-lasting.» Design Principle No. 7 by Dieter Rams

Which designs do you get inspiration from?

I’m fascinated by Swiss brands like USM Haller or Horgenglarus. Not only in terms of design, but also in terms of modularity, functionality and simplicity. During my studies to become an industrial designer, I was involved in the development of the «classic» bar chair by Horgenglarus. This project has had a profound impact on my understanding of a consistent design language.

So you would like to be compared with these brands?

Being compared is not important to me. My focus is on offering our customers the greatest possible added value. Let’s be honest: At the end of the day, it’s just glasses.


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