It’s not every day that you are asked to dinner with a world-famous industrial designer and architect, but that’s just what happened a couple of weeks ago when Ron Arad was in town. Having spoken earlier in the evening at the Design Exchange to a room filled with interior designers, architects, and general admirers of his work (such as myself), he later hosted a VIP dinner at the Templar Hotel alongside Karir Eyewear owner, Bob Karir.
It was all to celebrate Arad’s newest design venture into eyewear and the launch of his line, PQ Eyewear. Later I caught up with Karir, the exclusive retailer of PQ in Toronto, to find out why Arad’s foray into eyewear design is such a game changer.
GC: At the Design Exchange you said that in 30 years you have never seen anything like Arad’s eyewear design. What is it about his design and this collection that stands out to you?
BK: Ron Arad has redefined the traditional frame, through new hinge designs and A-frames that are adjustable to each individuals face – something that I have never seen before. The inclusion of superior design and breaking the mould of eyewear, the frame is not only incredibly practical and intuitive but a work of art.
On the PQ website it says, “there are very few new ideas in the world of glasses, so we started designing PQ to do something new.” Do you think more visionaries like Arad should be creating what we wear?
There are a lot of great designers out there pushing the limits in eyewear and Ron Arad is one example of that. The industry has become saturated by designers copying each other – but there are a number of exceptional talents who are continuing to create unique and notable frames.
Who is the customer that you see appreciating and wearing these glasses?
A pair of glasses says a lot about an individual – it’s the first thing you see when you look at someone’s face. Clients who have an appreciation and love for quality design are the one’s I see wearing these frames.
What influence do you think the launch of PQ eyewear, and Arad’s designs, will have on the eyewear industry?
The influence of Ron’s entry into eyewear will hopefully bring other architects and artists from outside the world of eyewear into the industry with new and fresh ideas and perspectives.
How did it feel to have Arad not only back in Toronto for the first time in 20 years, but to host him while he was here?
It’s a huge honour to have Ron Arad in Toronto – we hope to have him here again in the future. He’s an icon and a household name across the Atlantic and I hope to see him do more work here in the Americas.
What do you love about Arad’s work? What are some of your favourite pieces/projects?
I am excited about Ron Arad’s newest pieces, which will be available in stores in May, which will use magnetic hinges and 3D printing.
What are some of your favourite styles from the PQ collection?
My favourite style from PQ are the frames I own myself – the Bank – which I’ve customized the lenses.
Ron Arad with the National Post‘s Nathalie Atkinson
The Globe & Mail‘s Tiyana Grulovic
FASHION‘s Randi Bergman
fashion writer, David Livingstone
me with multiple cameras
Bob Karir of Karir Eyewear
Flare Magazine‘s Emily Ramshaw
All images courtesy of Jenna Marie Wakani