Interviews | January 15, 2016

A chat with… Werner Aisslinger

Werner Aisslinger is the new ic! berlin design director but not new in the German house. Focused on creating an ongoing flow of innovation, the 2016 collection of ic! berlin has already suffered some changes inspired by his constant travels

words  Peter Paris

How did you meet ic! berlin?

I met Ralph for the first time on a private level during birthday parties and events in Max-Beer-Strasse, many years ago.

That’s when your connection with the eyewear industry was born?

In 2009 he asked me to design the Onono horn collection, it was the start of a friendship and the start into the eyewear world. But I must say that I liked eyewear and sunglasses all my life and loved to collect vintage pieces!

Which was the first ic! berlin eyewear model drawn by you?

In the 2009 Onono collection it was Jackie. In our actual work, my favorite will be a sport eyewear presented at the next collection.

Which is your role as a design director at ic! berlin?

When I started the design collaboration it was more a feeling of being welcomed and everybody was open-minded to experience new points of view in ic! berlin. As I worked in my design career in many different industries I mostly tried to implement ways of working and brainstorming. So nobody hopefully felt like suffering but like being more efficient and focused with our design ideas and eyewear projects.

What is the concept that you are aiming for ic! berlin?

Ic! berlin has achieved the highest level of product quality within the last years. Nevertheless, me and the ic! design team have to create a continuous flow of innovation, new details, new colour concept, material experiments and frame shapes. So I feel responsible to push innovation as a part of the brand values on a long run.

What can we expect from the next 2016 collection?

We try to balance wearable frames for the existing strong men´s collection but also push women´s or unisex frames and we spend more time on the collection story, the creation of an overall luxury spirit, a sophistication of materials and colour codes, new small inventions like finishes or coatings and exciting plotic models.

What inspires you today in the world?

I am travelling a lot, so inspiration comes from cultures around the world and I love megacities like Tokyo, Bangkok, Shanghai or Sao Paulo. Megacities produce new lifestyles and fashion or housing and architecture and they have a speedy life. On the other hand, Berlin is a consistent idea-machine and a biotope for artists designers and musicians or club life, so the creative flow of Berlin is a permanent “fountain of ideas”.

How different is to create furniture and eyewear?

I created lot´s of different products from watches to electronics to furniture or transportable houses or hotel interiors. Process wise the differences are not big, it´s mostly the same design approach whether you create something small or large, complex or low tech. As a designers we always have to engender something astonishing and brand new that creates brand value and has a long product half-life and is a step forward but also creates an emotional link with the user.

At age 51 have you reach the top of your design career?

Hopefully not! I work faster than ever, I’ve learned to take design decisions with more speed and as long as I am travelling so much and get more and more inspiration, there is always an evolution. So to me things accelerate recently.

Are you expecting to receive some award now working at ic! Berlin to join the ones you already have?

It’s true I already got a lot of awards from different industries and I am sure that with some ic! berlin models in 2016 we´ll get awards around the world.

You wear glasses. What kind of models do you prefer?

Not RX but sunglasses. Actually, I love the model Hubert W [from ic! berlin].

Tell us your advice to the consumers: which is the best way to choose a new pair of glasses?

Talk to your local optician and test eyewear. And take your best friend as an advisor with you if possible!