Benjamin Hubert’s 3D-printed glasses for Kite are customisable luxury for individualists
We often hear the phrase ‘time is the new luxury’ bandied about. ‘But contemporary luxury is also about individualism,’ says Layer studio’s Benjamin Hubert of his new, customisable eyewear collection, designed for UK-based eyewear brand Kite.
Named KiteONE, the system uses 3D head scanning to create an utterly individual, and comfortable glasses frame. This unique piece of eyewear can be further customised through a choice of four different temple styles, three different colours, and a variety of finishes.
The made-to-measure experience begins with a handheld scanner, as a Kite stylist 3D-records various measurements, including distance between pupils, head and nose width, and ear positioning. The customer’s head is then visualised on the KiteONE app – also designed by Layer – and the glasses are fitted live on screen. The measurements taken by the scanner inform the dimensions of the eyewear and temple length so that the frames fit scientifically.
‘Time will tell whether people will get on board with the idea,’ says Hubert – but that’s the beauty of working so intimately with the customer on the design itself. He adds: ‘We’d love to get the feedback of our customers and the public. The design process is ongoing; we always want to listen and evolve.’ If the first glimpse of the new glasses at designjunction 2018 is anything to go by – where crowds of people continually pooled to watch the innovative scanning process – we predict a hit.
Modernist simplicity is the design vernacular here; a relief from the often futuristic aesthetic which comes with many technology-focused design concepts. Indeed, rather than using 3D printing as a novelty idea (which wouldn’t carry much weight now the technology is common place), Hubert sees it as a ‘means to an end’; the most practical possible way of making perfectly fitting frames. The 3D-printing does limit the range of materials that can be used in production, however. Each frame is nylon-based, while the injection moulded recycled plastic that fills the tips adds the flexibility of a variety of finishes, including a Sport Tip, with an integrated elasticated band designed to keep eyewear firmly in place.
The cherry on the 3D-printed cake, users can choose to have their name or message moulded inside the temple. Our chosen mantra? Individual wins. §