If you've ever browsed my personal blog, you'd know that I'm a sunglasses and spectacles kind of woman; I literally never leave home without some kind of frames on my face. Partially because my vision is so poor that I'd surely walk into lamposts, sans eyeglasses. And partially because a proper pair of frames - prescription or otherwise - can pick up the rattiest ensemble...
I tend to prefer a more slimline style, but I've become quite intrigued by these chunky pairs from the new techy LA label, Protos Eyewear. Helmed by Marc Levinson, Doug Ponciano, Richart Ruddie and John Mauriello, the eyewear company offers something most of us have never held, let alone worn - 3D printed sunglasses made almost completely from lazer-melted layers of powdered plastics.
It's the sort of thing one would expect a company to utilize strictly during the early, prototyping stages of product design. But through months of trial-and-error, these four have found an ingenious way to apply that process to a wearable, saleable end-product with a rather fair $180.00 price point on average.
Now, I haven't seen an actual pair of Protos sunglasses so I can't say how slick they truly are. However, close-up images of my favourite style thus far, the Joels (top image) reveal a clever, wood-grain effect that seems to be a part of the design technique.
And besides, even without seeing the pieces I have to admit that any label to render a pair of pixelated, Tetris-like frames has to be onto something special.
The guys were kind enough to chat with me about the happenings at Protos Eyewear recently, and I'll be sharing the entire Q&A in the new digital fall issue of Au Courant Magazine, to be published on October 1st. The details of their process are quite fascinating; according to Levinson, "3D printing is not restricted by a mold or template, each part can be totally unique, unlike any other manufacturing method."
Other bits to note?
It's very possible to crash 'several' computers along the road to a final design...
NB Images Courtesy Protos Eyewear