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Interviews | October 29, 2020

A chat with… Pedro da Silva

A collection with a minimalist and eclectic soul, a perfect synthesis of crafts and high tech. Pedro da Silva, founder of Vava, talks about the genesis and spirit of his creative audacity

words Alessandra Albarello

What do the Vava name and logo stand for?

The goal was to create an abstract symbol that could be representative of something bigger – Vava’s vision. Its mathematical precision with 5 perpendicular lines having 90º degree angles between them, makes a geometrical industrial wave, resulting in a sound that is Vava’s name. This geometric shape provides a visual depiction of the mathematical principles that comprise our industrialized world, using them to communicate our ideas about science, art and humanity. Finally, the logo reinforces the Vava design principles: function, concept, design.

What is emerging from the dialogue between crafts and high tech?

A techno-crafted product that, at same time, embodies the experience, knowledge and art of the great masters of handmade eyewear. Using state-of-the-art manufacturing technology, Italian craft and contemporary design principles, Vava is creating frames that are both performant and precious.  This approach, combined with the use of the highest quality biomaterials, is what makes our brand unique. Technology continues to captivate us, translating the imaginings of science fiction into reality and reconfiguring the boundaries between function and fantasy.

Has this dialogue been inspired by Bauhaus?

My keen interest in the Bauhaus movement and minimalism goes back a long way.  Basic and simple shapes, like squares and rectangles, the most common shapes in the industrial world, stimulate my vision in design. Much of the man-made world is composed of these shapes. I wanted to make a label that could express the highly conceptual language of machinery and the arts. Ultimately, the brand aims to achieve a contemporary basic look and yet conceptual and timeless.

What is the cultural journey and philosophy behind your creations?

For a long time, I have been fascinated and inspired by Detroit’s post-industrial landscape. The richness of its music legacy also inspires me a lot. On the other hand, I have always had a great connection with Berlin. The mood of the city, the music scene, the openness of the people, the cultural scene, the post-industrial feeling, the green areas… Detroit and Berlin are both part of the industrial revolution. They symbolize cultural and economic domination, as well as the collapse and the rebirth of society. I’m also very much inspired by science fiction films, like for instance, Metropolis, Blade Runner and 2001: A Space Odyssey, which result from an excessively one-sided belief in technological progress. I’m also very fond of Bauhaus and Minimalism.

Raceless, genderless and ageless. How can you achieve these characteristics?

Vava envisions a future that is raceless, genderless and ageless using terms like equality and diversity. We translate this equality in a unique way by creating a neutral figure. This philosophy is naturally affiliated with monochromatic primary shapes in primary and neutral colors. An influx of clean and streamlined shapes made of techno materials in tandem with people’s space-age imaginings and science-fiction.

And what about eco-sustainability?

Vava designs for a conscious future: a world of high-tech solutions that leverages all the possibilities of technology to make zero waste and eco design possible. A post-industrial world of techno-craftsmanship.  This means that we have eco-friendly manufacturing using high quality, sustainable materials. Vava is using the exclusive Mazzucchelli ‘eco-friendly’ line M49. Another key aspect of our product is the use of Barberini glass lenses, a product which is 100% recyclable. Finally, Vava hinges are made from aluminium, a super light material with great physical and mechanical properties. The production waste can be easily melted down to make new aluminium.

What are the most innovative technical details of your collections?

If I had to select a particular technical detail, I would mention our new aluminium hinge. The new cubic hinge is half of the size of the previous one, giving a sense of additional finesse and delicacy to the frame. The aluminium is produced using a cutting-edge, industrial milling process. Spring aluminum hinges with acetate temple tips while further contributing to soften the feeling, also improve the adjustment of the spectacles.

Your collaborations include icons like Alvaro Siza. Other future collaborations?

We are pleased to announce that at Mido 2021 we will be showcasing two very important collaborations: one with a Japanese Architect and another with a German producer and DJ. Both of whom have been pushing the boundaries of architecture and music.

In an emotionally vulnerable moment like this, can minimalism exclude romanticism?

Romantic looks can also qualify as minimalist, helping you achieve that clean, balanced silhouette whilst still looking romantic. In an environment of high-speed culture and ecstasy of consumption, minimalism represents deceleration, purism and metaphysics. The structure and design of eyewear is not just physical but creative.