SUNGLASS DISTRICT<p>by Maria Laura Berlinguer</p>


by Maria Laura Berlinguer

From Basilicata to the Alps glasses stand for Italian ingenuity

The very first eyewear company was set up in 1878 in Calalzo di Cadore, near Belluno. Since then, Veneto’s district alone has been able to account for 70% of the whole global mid-range and high-end eyewear industry and control 50% of the global production of licensed big fashion brands. Still, this wonderful expertise has also its roots in Southern Italy. Even today, in Avellino, Matera, Salerno and Potenza there are still some companies that bear witness to the Southern origin of sunglasses. It was precisely in the 16th century when a nobleman from Basilicata, Giovan Vincenzo Pinelli, came up with a solution to filter sunlight that bothered his injured eye.


A basic accessory between fashion and wellbeing

As Franco Battiato puts it, there are those who “put their sunglasses on to get more charm and revealing mystery” and those who, fascinated by design, use clear lenses only for the sake of enhancing their facial features with daring frames. Far from just hiding one’s eyes, a great pair of sunglasses may actually enhance your face much more than a good makeup. It is no coincidence that, for a long time now, screenwriters and writers have given a distinguishing feature to their characters simply adding a pince-nez, or letting them take their showy sunglasses off. 


The art of combining science and beauty

In addition to their aesthetic value, glasses also have the immeasurable power of protecting our eyes. This is why the masters of Italian eyewear, selected by Design Italy are all also excellent opticians who have as their first objective the creation of beautiful but just as useful objects. The choice of materials is a crucial part of the process, they must be hypoallergenic, easy to clean, light enough not to leave marks on the skin, dark lenses to protect from UV rays, and so sunglasses become true magic shields.


Elegance in a move, Fassamano's tradition

The first pair of reading eyeglasses for presbyopia is a complete shock for most people, an undeniable mark of the passage of time. Fassamano, with its production process all carried out in Veneto’s district, created a design object that makes the move of placing the lenses on the nose an affectation, instead of a real necessity. Cristiana Vannini, designer and art director of Fassamano ltd. which owns the brand, found her inspiration for the shapes of the lovely reading glasses in the models of the past making them more contemporary than ever, adapting them to a unisex model. Then simply add chains and pendants and even eyeglasses become jewels. An iconic accessory perfectly and beautifully made.



The craftsman's perfection: 1955, a timeless date

The “Fausta” sunglasses, selected by Design Italy, are the sole pair of glasses on exhibition at the Triennale design museum in Milan. Raffaele Ricciuti, head of the company that owns two brands, Occhialeria Artigiana and Primus, explains: “Fausta is the name of the designer who created this pair of sunglasses drawing her inspiration from the windows of the Romanesque and Gothic periods. Those shapes were also used during the Renaissance and our production philosophy is inspired by the artists and craftsmen of that period". The revival of arts and crafts is also linked to the choice of “1955”, a symbolic date for Italy which “marked an era of rebirth”. But Ricciuti still looks to the future, since he considers his glasses as “evergreen” both for their design and for their timeless features, thanks to their very high-quality. Protecting the environment also means creating objects that can elegantly last over time.



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