On Hoelderlin, headstands and Dadaist manifests
ic! berlin / onono
Passion / Occupation
Ich bin Blechbrillenverkäufer, Fotograf, Sänger, Maler und Penner.
Your mission statement?
There are always two options to choose from, maybe three, although they can be very similar. At the end of the day you have to make a decision. Even if the wilderness you may encounter will look like a jungle, and every step can be fatal. And with all the consequences; disease, loss of arms and hands, riches, death, rebirth and maybe even resurrection from the dead. So it’s a broad field to which we keep returning. Life is about taking risks. Risking everything, all the time.
What’s your overall inspiration?
Insecurity as much as security. The jovial as much as the unlikely. And also God – oh, how much I have suffered in the name of you and your son, oh Madonna, oh Hoelderlin. As you can see, I’m also inspired by poetry – and Wagner. Funny enough, it comes with age. Other than that, Bach, salads, the Ferrari FF and Mr. Lapo, also courtesy of Ferrari.
How much of your workday is spent designing eyewear?
The largest part, since I’m designing constantly. I design interiorly, exteriorly, concrete or abstract – whatever. For me it’s all about shaping and finding, finding and shaping, always against the current Zeitgeist and chasing the hottest new thing. My designs are timeless, inconvenient and post-capitalistic with a high return and eco-efficiency. I don’t like inflated, colorful gimmicks.
What other activities take precedence over your everyday work life?
Trips to the toilet and eating. In the morning I’m always singing and thinking of Lieberman: Singing is like defecating and vomiting at the same time, my singing teacher used to say. Or: “Inflating the deepest parts through capitulation.” I also breathe a lot, in as much as out and enjoy taking long headstands and ducking off into the sauna several times per day, where I enjoy long, extremely cold showers.
How many glasses have you designed to date?
What attracted you to designing eyewear?
The predictability of the unpredictable – all the lines have to be spot-on.
What’s the hardest part about designing glasses?
Always having to end up with two openings for the eyes.
Where do you get inspiration for creative design work?
From the longing for love, security and world peace. And from the tensions arising from there, all the way to war. In one word: contrasts. Give me contrasts, that’s what the Dadaist manifesto says.
Which eyewear designer has had a lasting effect on you?
What’s your advice to aspiring eyewear designers?
When it comes to designing eyewear and drawing faces – always work upside-down, like the painter Baselitz.
What do you see yourself doing if you weren’t designing eyewear?
Playing professor at university, or actually being one.
What’s only possible with sunglasses on your head?
What’s the best combination of eyewear and celebrity status?
What is your biggest passion?
Living and dying.
What will you be doing at 70 years old?
Ralph, thanks for the meta-level conversation.