Face à Face

Claire Ferreira and Marianne Dezes

Words Alessandra Albarello


In 1981 Ettore Sottsass invited Shiro Kuramata to join the Memphis movement. These two designers follow their traces...

Face à Face was founded in 1995 and in 2015 you joined Design Eyewear Group. After almost 10 years what has changed and evolved in your life and organization?
We are now co-managing the artistic directions of Face à Face, Woow and Alium in the fields of both design and communication. We like this transversality as much as we have liked the teamwork over the last 13 years. Our broad role embraces product and corporate design: inspiration (from Art, Applied Arts, accessories...) and ideation of optical and sun concepts; elaboration of the collection themes and plans, technical development and innovation with the manufacturers; brand DNA creation and evolution, storytelling with copywriters’ Artistic direction of the brands’ image, campaign; brand environment (shows, brand corner design, frame cases, point of purchase...)

How and why do the Surrealism and Memphis movements continue to be your main inspirations? Where do your other inspirations come from?
We have always visited a lot of art exhibitions. We could rediscover Memphis through the eponymous exhibition in Centre Georges Pompidou and the fantastic ‘Années 80s’ in the Art Deco Museum. We feel attracted to the craziness and spontaneity of that phenomenon; it makes us want to go always further in breaking aesthetic boundaries. We also like to go to contemporary dance shows and to mix it up with parisian Street inspiration. now that our office location is 22 rue St Marin in paris, in the very heart of the city, we enjoy it even more, this is a great chance for us. We like to go for instance to shows like première Classe in the tuileries garden to see the fashion start-ups and the most explorative international entrepeneurs.

Your eyewear is crafted in three countries in France, Italy and Japan. Your headquarters are based in Denmark whilst the design team is still in Paris. Where do you feel your roots are and why?
Very much French! playing with the daring, yet elegant, mysterious and fragile balance – Latin culture with a chic twist. And now that our offices have moved into the very heart of paris, connected to the opening of the Design Eyewear group boutique ‘Degree’, we feel even more parisian! Concerning the culture mix in the group, it is also very interesting to exchange with the Danish team, to learn from each other’s ways of working, but also, and surprisingly, our differences allow us to define ourselves better, each can go further in their own vision.

A contemporary attitude to explore other territories is a continuous state of mind: what new styles, materials, colours and innovations are you introducing at Silmo?
As we are in our new collection theme ‘Japan now’, we developed for instance new acetates in collaboration with Mazzucchelli design studio. Happy to announce we are proud of the results, evoking atmospheres between eternal minerals and mysterious Raku ceramic smokes, perfect for our Japanese exploration. this is fascinating work to do, apart from frame design, as designing textiles may be in the fashion field. It requires abstraction, almost like a painting, with edgy research of colour combinations and accepting a part of randomness because the process is complex and a part of this stays unpredictable. So, you do a lot of trials and then you trust your eyes.

‘Objects of magic’ was your S/S 2023 slogan, what message could be the viaticum for your new collections as well as a message to your final customers?
‘Object of magic’ will always be our purpose, and now we explore its Japanese side. From Ettore Sottsass and the Memphis movement we have been rediscovering Shiro Kuramata and Contemporary Japanese designers so this Japanese passion infuses our new ‘Japan now’ collection. From the sculptural cylinders of the Kyoto models to the colourful folds of pleats and the haunting echoes of the Nendo range... Each of these new concepts reflects the interplay of the subtlety of Japanese design and the exuberance of the Memphis movement. this interplay of cultures creates novelty and surprise right through to the colour palette: structured materials, smoky amber colour gradients, touches of pale violet, and almost futuristic halo effects and electric colours sketch a diverse and explosive world. Joining opposites. go where opposites and contrasts meet. With Face à Face, the unexpected turns into a philosophy.

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