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Interviews | October 17, 2016

A chat with… Christian Wolf

Passionate about cars, as well as eyewear, classic automobiles are the foundation for everything the Rolf team designs. We spoke with Christian Wolf, Ceo and founder of Rolf Spectacles, about the Company, its beginning and its last expectional project, Monoceros

words  Carolina Saporiti

Nature has a clear lust: to inspire people. And there are places where its power is stronger than in other ones. One of these is the heart of the Tyrolean Alps, where a small, family-run business produces hand-made, lightweight wood eyeglass frames. After an hard start, Rolf have developed a new method of manufacturing eyewear frames, which enables to produce curved frames made entirely out of wood. And now, at Silmo 2016, the team is ready to launch a new collection and a new brand, only made by horn.

First question: why glasses? Why did you choose this field?

Roland (Christian’s brother, ed) has been fascinated by glasses since he was a little boy. Back then he used to wear glasses with non-prescription lenses. Later, he was trained as an optician. While doing that he occasionally tried to construct and create glasses.

Is there a special place where do you like to draw and think?

Mary Iljazovic gets the best ideas for new technical innovations and development for our frames from the Tyrolean mountains. We love this pristine and natural landscape. Again and again, it provides the energy and creativity for new inventions.

You and your brother love classic automobiles. How do you link these two passions?

We are all very passionate about vintage cars. Our Rolf frames and vintage cars have one thing in common: they are collector’s items, distinctive through classic design achieved by precise and perfected technology. We not only connect the design of every frame to a vintage car, but we also name our eyewear after them.

Your frames are made by wood and horn. No metal parts. Why? Are you a Mother Nature’s lovers?

On one hand, Nature really inspires us again and again. On the other hand, we aim really at pure and artful handicraft and the idea of making the impossible possible.

Your business is established in Tyrol. How much does the location affect the brand and your products?

Here in Tyrol, we are living in the middle of a one-of-a-kind paradise. Colourful meadows, wide valleys and impressive mountains. The best part: we’re far from the mainstream, something that is extremely important to us.

Your beginning wasn’t simple, so you asked for money to your family. What does your experience could teach?

Only with the strong mental, emotional and financial support we received from our families, we were able to successfully turn the vision of owning an eyewear manufactory into reality. Today we still think back to the exciting initial phase, which prepared us for the work we do today. This is a guiding principle we continue to convey to our employees.

What do you love most about your job?

We love the independence and the freedom to always live our creativity, to always reinvent, to create and develop new things with our hands and hearts.

Which is your target?

We wish for the continuation of our successful work, creating and constructing award-winning frames.

Is there a specific person would you like to wear Rolf spectacles? And why?

Christoph Waltz would be a cool Rolf testimonial. He is an Austrian world famous actor and doing a great job. A Rolf would fit him perfectly – for sure.

What are you going to show us at Silmo?

The Rolf family creates a new brand: Monoceros, handmade horn eyewear. This eyewear is crafted from one of the oldest materials used to make eyewear. The new approaches and innovations allow creating a frame from a single piece of buffalo horn. This ensures that the fiber, color and structure of the horn are consistent throughout the whole frame. By using a wooden hinge, we can keep our frames completely free of metal and plastic. Our patented glazing system, which is ideal for horn frames, is an additional highlight.

Could you tell us something else about Monoceros?

The model Gemini reveals a completely novel and astonishing possibility to combine noble buffalo horn with a balanced, unique design. This angular and very thin frame appeals modest and elegant, at the same time conveys understatement and certain lightness.

Any other news at Rolf headquarters?

Yes, the Rolf wooden collections are growing too. We’ll be unveiling the newest additions to the Rolf wooden collections. There are three new models in the evolved collection: Admiral, Landaulet, and Snipe. With the Snipe 93 collection, we have reinvented the classic aviator. The Admiral 94 from instead is a delicate frame in the timeless panto shape. And also the ROLF excellence collection with its meticulously executed details such as two-tone styles and engravings is growing. Minor 205 of the excellence collection stands out with its unisex and classy design. Its design is inspired by the classic car model minor from the Morris Motor Company, which was build from 1928 – 1934.