Fashion – From Eskimo snow goggles to opera monocles and John Lennon-style spectacles but also emerging Israeli lateral-thinking eyewear. The Overview exhibition at Design Museum Holon, Israel, focuses on “vision through design” exploring the history and future visions of eyeglasses.
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The exhibition on show until 29 April 2017 is divided in three parts: in the upper gallery, 400 items from collector Claude Samuel narrate the history of eyewear. In the lower gallery, emerging Israeli designers blur the lines between fashion, jewelry and product design with out-of-the box conceptual interpretations. In addition, the exhibition explores Virtual Reality technology, as well as the different ways sight and design can interact through various activities.
“Engaging with eyeglasses, such a common and everyday object, can be carried out from so many angles, but we have chosen to engage with it from the perspective of the person using the object. In the exhibition we will examine cultural milestones and the central role eyeglasses played in defining social and cultural phenomena” says curator Maya Dvas to Archipanic.
What are eyeglasses? Emerging Israeli designers answer the question with commissioned works on display in the Lower Gallery.Touch lenses by Tal Our combines rings and optical lenses addressing the jewellery aspects of eyeglasses and suggesting new seeing gestures.
Florentin 001 by Omer Polak refers to the manufacturing skills of craftsmen from Tel Aviv Florentin districts. When both eyes need corrective lenses we use the glasses configuration, but the Dayandayan design by Dov Ganchrow “is a single-eye design solution put to use twice, ignoring the historic move to glasses” says the designer. The 3rd Eye design by Ototo engages in what is invisible to the human eye and the attributes ascribed to the concept of the third eye.
Inspired by flies compound eyes, Ariel Lavian created a hybrid of a mask and a piece of jewelry. Dana Ben Shalom delved into the relationship between glasses and the nose while Shira Keret and Itay Laniado combine wicker and plastic connectors blurring the lines between craftsmanship and industrial manufacturing.
In contrast to the modern interpretations of eyeglasses, the museum’s Upper Gallery showcases more than 400 items from collector Claude Samuel. A visual display of the history of eyewear, his extensive collection showcases the ways in which different cultural milestones actively influenced and were influenced by the invention and evolution of eyeglasses.
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Unique pieces ranging from Elton John and John Lennon style eyeglasses to authentic Eskimo bone eyewear are exhibited alongside sketches of eyewear from the Pierre Cardin Fashion House, and more.
‘Vision Test’, part three of the exhibition, presents visitors with various objects that challenge the interaction between sight and design through interactive activities and optical illusions related to focus, colour and perspective. One example is Carnovsky Studio’s RGB project: a large-scale multi-layered wallpaper, which projects different images depending on the colour of light illuminating the wall.
To complement the overall theme of the exhibition, Design Museum Holon’s Design Lab engages in what the future of eyeglasses holds through an interactive display of Virtual Reality glasses. The Lab also features a “repairing reality” workshop dedicated to repairing and renewing eyeglasses, where visitors can bring in their old glasses and refurbish them in their own style.
“We tend to forget that the initial purpose of eyeglasses was to correct a flaw, and eyeglasses do not conceal that flaw, but actually emphasise it by means of design. The exhibition will not only enable an observation of the cultural history of eyeglasses, but also of the designer’s role throughout the process.” Adds curator Maya Dvas.
Overview is part of a larger program that focuses on how design relates the with the five senses. On the 1st of June the Sound Waves exhibition will focus on sound objects showcasing loudspeakers and music composed by international designers, alongside interactive installations by local creatives.
All images: courtesy of Design Museum Holon.