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This year marks the 5th anniversary of the 100% Optical Trade Fair in London. Students are being asked to respond to the theme of “celebration” using the medium of eyewear.

We will be working again with Mazzuchelli and Laes. They will be providing acetate for the construction of frames, and Tom Broughton from Cubitts will be joining us for a masterclass in frame-making. Due to the anniversary and celebratory nature of this project, worldwide press and international coverage will accompany this competition. The overall winner will receive a cash prize of £… . The six finalists will show their frames at the 100% Optical Fair in London in January. Following a visit to the British Optical Association Museum in Craven St, students should investigate and respond to systems, forms and scientific optical instruments, as well as advanced lens technology. Students are expected to scrutinise the process of creating eyewear, this can be protective or to enhance vision. The overall aesthetic should resemble the student’s own design philosophy, and this should be demonstrated through sketchbook work.

Thoughts for consideration in approach to the project:

What does celebration mean to you, in a personal context, and how does this inform your design sensibility?

Who is this celebration for? You can think about this in both a cultural and an anthropological context also, examine the planes and contours of the faces, heads and ears for which you are designing, and consider them your map towards creating advanced design systems for the face.

Consider the concept of eyewear: what you are attempting here is to innovate on the concept of “dressing the eyeball”. This implies an investigation into the enhancement of vision and how to achieve this.

Treat the eyeball as your mannequin, think about the anatomy of the eye, is your eyewear to be worn externally or internally, there is no limitation to what you can produce, as long as your narrative is coherent and accessible to the judges through your completed sketchbook.

Additionally, students should consider the concept of light, how vision is made possible through this natural phenomena, and how light itself differs according to geographical location; one wouldn’t see the same light near the equator as one would in the Arctic… therefore, eyewear for these locations should be appropriately designed for purpose.

Briefing is 2nd week October, along with museum visit, submission of sketchbook and maquette 1st week of December, selection of six finalists 1st week of December, judging of overall winner at fair in January. Possible internship with eyewear manufacturer to be confirmed.

Reading Material:

Cult Eyewear

Vision in Motion

Eyewear: A Visual History (Taschen)