Digital revolution

Words Antonella Reina


The new Philipp Plein, Akoni and Aether designs, although differing greatly in style and creative intentions, all take us into unexplored territories where reality meets virtuality, unveiling an increasingly evolved relationship between eyewear and the wearer

According to some experts, the Metaverse industry could be worth up to USD 800 billion and would represent the biggest technological opportunity or the future. What seems to be the future of the Internet is creeping into our lives more and more, almost bringing to life the imagery of science fiction novels like Neal Stephenson's 'Snow Crash' and films like 'The Matrix' and 'Ready Plaver One'. But how does this new online world, whose evolution is still difficuly to predict, affect eyewear? Metaverse, augmented reality and new technologies have infitrated the fertile ground of creative processes and are influencing futuristic concepts, proyects and designs, as illustrated by a number of brands that have already embarked on their own virtual journey; beginning what appears to be a true digital 'revolution' in eyewear. 

One of the first to enter an immaterial but no less luxurious universe is Philipp Plein, a fashion brand with a provocative soul that has recently launched 'Crypto King$' glasses, in partnership with the De Rigo Group. A pioneer of its kind, the project brings physicality into the digital world and lends a physical presence to the virtual. The SPP008 model is a design with a bold and modern look that features a front with thick acetate profiles and thin metal temples. In a limited edition of 1,000 pieces, it is paired with a serial number and a special box equipped with a monitor to preview the unique version of its NFT, created by Antoni Tudisco, a 3D artist who founded the artistic duo 'Crypto King$' together with Philipp Plein. To access their NFT work the client must scan the QR code provided inside the special box. "I am proud of the partnership with De Rigo, which has now reached a new and enhanced level. With this cutting-edge project I can manifest my vision and bring about a unique experience in the world of eyewear", states Philipp Plein.

Meanwhile, the luxury eyewear brand Akoni focuses on a computer-based aesthetic with a concept that blurs the boundaries between the photographic and digital image. Directed by Ohlman Consorti and created by Area of Work, it offers a reinterpretation of classical portraiture thanks to modern innovations in computer-generated imagery. The elegant, hyper-realistic series of CGI images produces a mesmerising visual experience where frames and faces merge into a fascinating ensemble, communicating the design of the glasses and their craftsmanship in a completely new way. "A frame that pleases has the impressive potential to become an integral part of a person's character, as it reflects and manifests deeply personal choices and outlooks," explains Salma Rachid, Creative Director and co-founder of Akoni. 

"This unique potential for transformation transforms beautifully in the CGI creations, which blend, hypnotically, face and frame, creating an impossible reality through their imaginative series of techno-portraits and ending in us questioning our very idea of the material world."ether, through an ambitious design project, transforms glasses into a 'portal' to a unique sound experience, and also focuses on transformation but in a holistic context. "Aether was created as a tribute to the transformative power of sound: mood enhancement, memory creation, rhythm setting, energy displacement. When superimposed on everyday experiences, ambient soundscapes can elevate the ordinary into the extraordinary. Allowing creative individuals to fine-tune their personal soundscapes at any time," explain the project's creators. Sound and sight are joined together in a single accessory that allows you to tune in to the sound frequencies that most reflect a personal frame of mind. Powered by Qualcomm aptX technology and connected to Bluetooth 5.1 with customised open-ear speakers and EQ profiles, the glasses can be used for listening to music, but also for making phone calls and communicating, and promise the wearer to be able to immerse themselves in a world of sound that energises, creates memories and enhances emotions. It seems, therefore, that glasses are no longer just accessories to protect us from the sun, correct our eyesight or add individuality to our style, but true multi-sensory tools capable of leading us into a reality that transcends the usual material limits. Who is ready to try them?

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