Kirk & Kirk

The memory of matter

Words Alessandra Albarello


A revealing encounter with light and colour but also a geological reference to bends in the river. For Kirk & Kirk eyes can see very far

Lightness, in the true sense of the word, came with the appearance of that particular material – acrylic, or rather, with its evolution and transformation. “We have always worked with acrylic. Five years of research went into developing the material and working out how to make frames”, say Karen and Jason Kirk. And yes, experimentation and innovation have never been words foreign to the vocabulary of Kirk & Kirk, a brand that over time has changed skin and name with variations around the surname Kirk, exploring different contexts, even going into tailored fashion, with audacity and transgression but always with a slightly classic twist, in pure and authentic Brit style.

Authenticity is part of the Kirk & Kirk DNA, of its origins back in time, of its roots easily recognisable in the faces and gestures of the family that shaped it and then, above all, carried it forward, making it contemporary. "Acrylic is about 1/3 lighter than acetate and has memory, that is to say, when adjusted it will keep its shape and stay comfortable for the client”, specify Karen and Jason Kirk, thereby making a case for their decision. these technical and functional features certainly do not go unnoticed. However, it is the shiny texture and those virtuous translucent effects that make this material fascinating with its iridescence similar to that of glass – elusive, immaterial, fluid.

Because the search for beauty has always been combined with lightness, focusing above all on its ephemeral, yet so important, aspects to stimulate the senses and emotions, recreating those prismatic conditions that escape the eye to follow the unpredictable trajectories and interferences of light. For Karen Kirk, designer and creative director, the starting point of her creations is precisely the material and its intricate qualities which are then enhanced by accurate workmanship. "the material always comes first. I always feel like I am sculpting it rather than cutting it out. Many years spent working with acrylic has taught us how to exploit its beauty." And then all the power of traditional know-how takes over to create a final product aimed at a high-end target.

Annual production currently stands at 20k frames, and from concept to finished design it takes approximately 6 weeks to prototype and then 3 months of production time: a process in praise of slowness whilst respecting craftsmanship. to be presented during Silmo, the ‘Contour’ collection, in the name of lightness and visual lightness, shows a combination of materials and finishes that give a natural and poetic touch to the glasses, evoking other landscapes. "Contour is a geological reference, with the alpaca silver temples reminiscent of a river carving its path through the earth in natural lines with depth and unique facets. the fronts are hand-crafted in Italian acrylic which is then sand-blasted to create a unique finish reminiscent of beach glass”, says Karen. thus begins a new and intriguing journey.

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