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Bright eyes

Eyewear goes modular for infinitely more specs appeal

Modularity is the design buzzword du jour. And eyewear is at the forefront of the trend. Nendo has just launched a collection of Magne-hinge glasses which, as the name suggests, replaces the screw in the hinge with a magnet, allowing glasses to be easily customised with differently coloured temples. A new range of sunglasses by Swiss firm SOL SOL ITO (pictured) offers even more modular behaviour, with easily interchangeable temples and nose pieces, allowing for restyling and a perfect fit. The range is the work of Monika Fink, a design engineer-turned sculptor, and Sandra Kaufmann, co-head of industrial design at Zurich University. The frames, which click together, come in five designs and three colours, with hand-polished acetate fronts and steel temples.

Nick Compton

Photography: Emile Barret


Swiss Design gegen UV-Strahlen

Die preisgekrönte Sonnenbrillenkollektion des neuen Swiss Brands SOL SOL ITO von Sandra Kaufmann und Monika Fink weiss in puncto Coolness und Design gleichermassen zu überzeugen. Bereits ausgespäht haben das Kreativduo die südkoreanischen und japanischen Trendscouts.

Jürg Zbinden

Photografie: Rico & Michael



Monika Fink is co-founder of the label SOL SOL ITO and a sculptor. After her apprenticeship as a design engineer, she worked as a lighting technician at the Zurich Opera House and other theaters. Sandra Kaufmann is co-founder of the label SOL SOL ITO and co-head of Industrial Design at the Zurich University of the Arts. She founded Strada del Sole in 2007, an eyewear brand headquartered in Zurich and the recipient of several international awards.

What does SOL SOL ITO mean?
Our initial inspiration was the town of Sausolito, which is located on the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California.
SOL SOL ITO came about from playing with the sound of the word. It seemed like a perfect fit for sunglasses.

What did you have in mind when you started the project?
We wanted to create a new eyewear concept. There are different types of faces in the world and our dream was to find a universal fit for all people, from different cultures.

What is special about it?
Solsolito is an eyewear kit. You can assemble the front piece, nose piece and the temple parts, all within a few seconds. You choose your own style.

What do you like about designing sunglasses?
Design wise, it is interesting because sunglasses are worn right in the middle of the face. Sunglasses also offer eye protection. It is not only about style.

What do you see more: people wearing sunglasses that fit them well, or not?
It is always a pleasure for the eyes to see a good match of personality and frame. We believe in a personalized style and that is the essence of our brand: an eyewear kit.

Have you had any experience with China?
Sandra gave a speech about Swiss Design at the Tsinghua University in Beijing. As SOL SOL ITO is a new Swiss luxury brand, we are just about setting foot in China.

What was your first impression of the design students in Beijing?
Sandra: It was inspiring to see how interested the students are in Swiss design. They wanted to know everything about our way of thinking. They were very curious, asking many questions about watch and eyewear design.

Any obvious differences between that and the design university you co-lead in Zurich, Switzerland?
Sandra: The Tsinghua University is much larger than the ZHdK. In Zurich, we take only 18 students a year for the Industrial Design BA, since we want to remain exclusive. I guess, in China this would not be possible.

Ariana Pradal for Kaleidoscope

Photography: Samuel Wimmer


Statement by the jury
»As a self-explanatory construction kit, Solsolito is extremely user-friendly. Moreover, the collection conveys an expressive aesthetics.«

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