We had a chance to sit down for dinner with Israeli designer and architect Ron Arad last week as he made a quick 24-hour visit to Toronto to promote his latest collection of glasses with PQ Eyewear. Hosted by Karir Eyewear’s Bob Karir, the dinner was held at the beautiful Templar Hotel and featured an “optical-themed” menu that was just as inventive and delicious as you’d think (think two scallops and two asparagus stalks forming the shape of a pair of specs, or a glasses-shaped chocolate tuile dessert).
An architect by trade, Arad is also known throughout the world for his work in industrial design and large-scale art that challenge approaches to material and form. It’s this same sense of boldness that he brings to his new collection of eyewear, which includes his signature A-frame glasses that feature a sharp, sculptural design and an A-shaped bridge that can be adjusted to fit any face. The wire that forms the ‘A’ also forms the invisible sprung hinges, which snap together to close effortlessly. Though the glasses may seem intimidating at first, they’re easier to wear than you’d think, not to mention totally comfortable (we would know – we went to Karir and tried on a few pairs…) Each design in the collection is named after a different London Underground station, from the smart and chunky Bethnal Green, to the teardrop-shaped frames of our favourite, the retro-inspired Tottenham Court Road.
Arad is the type of guy who welcomes a challenge and confronts it head-on. Never one to rest on his laurels, he’s currently developing a plastic pair with magnetic hinges that allow the wearer to change up the temples. And though we can’t spill too many more details, we had a chance to see the glasses up close and they will change the way you look at eyewear (no pun intended).
With his mix of technical precision and flair for the creative, Arad’s eyewear is something that demands to be seen. And the designer is happy to share his expertise and enthusiasm with all who will listen. Just hours before the Templar Hotel dinner, Arad was doing a trunk show at Karir’s flagship store; later in the day, he gave a lecture at the Design Exchange. As if to prove the point, he had to leave the dinner early to catch a flight home. It’s this work ethic and drive that we really admire about Ron Arad. Regardless of how cool he is in person or how innovative his glasses are, at the end of the day, this is a man that stands behind his work 100%. And as we left the dinner that night thinking about our conversation with Arad and about how much we liked his new collection, we couldn’t help but feel like we could get behind him as well.
Photos by Jenna Marie Wakani / PQ Eyewear glasses are available exclusively in Toronto at Karir Eyewear