Sebastian Herkner’s First Eyewear Collection is Inspired by Berlin Districts
“The difference is in the details—be it curve, radius, or proportion,” says Sebastian Herkner on designing his first eyewear collection.
A recent addition to a fast-accumulating resume of design, the young German designer’s collaboration with Berlin-based eyewear brand ic! Berlin comes on the heels of outdoor furnishing collections for Ames and Emu, an upholstered version of a classic wooden chair for Thonet, a lamp inspired by grapes for Pulpo, and a coveted Designer of the Year award from Paris-based furniture fair Maison & Objet—and that’s just talking about 2019 for Herkner, who is still under 40.
Also his first entry into the fashion and lifestyle arena, the ic! Berlin x Studio Sebastian Herkner Capsule Collection consists of two prescription glasses and two nonprescription sunglasses and is a tribute to the rich architectural history of Germany’s capital city. Starting at around $400, the four unisex models are named after iconic Berlin locations—with each sturdy CC laser-cut steel frame offered in three colors.
As Herkner explains, “‘Dahlem’ draws from that sophisticated neighborhood; car races were once held on the street ‘Avus’—so this one looks more aviator; architectural-looking ‘Hansa’ points to a housing project built after World War II; and ‘Bellevue’”—referencing the Bellevue Palace and official residence of the President of Germany since 1994—“is the more eye-catching one.”
Despite a reputation more focused on furnishings and lighting, Herkner says the collection is “a little bit back to the roots,” noting he did an internship for Stella McCartney 15 years ago. Like his furnishings, the eyewear collection is a careful union between slender lines, flexibility, and durability. Integrated into the folds and bends of each light and flexible frame is a patented interlocking screwless hinge system—a feat of engineering that ic! Berlin is known for. “We ditched the screws found in traditional eyewear from the very beginning,” Herkner notes.
Technology aside, what his designs don’t do is throw out a rulebook honed over centuries. As Herkner explains, “The goal’s a commercial product, not just some crazy ones for Lady Gaga.” Not that the fashion-forward singer-songwriter wouldn’t covet these, too.