The Story Behind Black Eyewear’s First Frames.
The early designs of my Black Eyewear collection took inspiration from glasses of the 1950s. It was a decade of eyewear design that shaped the future of the optical industry.
Nik Roope is a British industrial and digital media designer and entrepreneur. Roope received Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts, Sculpture from Liverpool John Moores University. Roope’s career combines his interest in art, design and technology into various commercial and artistic pursuits. His designs have been included in MoMA permanent collection, The Cooper-Hewitt collection and The V&A. Nicolas founded Poke, Antirom, Hulger, Plumen and The Lovie Awards, all companies of note and all influential and innovative in their respective fields. These endeavours have all been recognised by international industry awards and critical acclaim. In 2006, Nicolas was appointed member of the Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences. He co-founded and chairs the jury of The Lovie Awards, the pan-European award for outstanding achievement in the digital world. Nicolas is also cofounder and creative director of designer energy efficient lighting company Plumen, a company that now sells in over 75 markets and is making in-roads into smart lighting products and control systems.
Nik’s father is Robert Roope, creative director and founder of Black Eyewear
Both your father and yourself have embraced careers in design, was there something in the Roope water?
I suppose there probably was! Neither of us really made a choice to pursue design as a career, it just kind of happened.
Your company Plumen creates beautiful, sustainable lighting design for homes and businesses, tell us, why turn your attention to lighting in particular?
I’ve always been interested in lighting design. I’ve spent a lot of time in Denmark over the years and their lighting is the best in the world. Lighting products and how they use it in their homes, cafes etc. It’s a big part of the hygge tradition. So when we all started realising how big an issue climate change was, I looked at all the low energy bulbs at the time and thought “they need to be more inspirational” if we wanted to persuade mass markets to adopt them. And because no one was thinking this way we went off and did it.
You wear Black Eyewear (of course), what is it about your father’s design sensibility and range of eyewear you find appealing (beyond the blood tie)?
I could say three things really stand out. One is that he’s just got a great eye for design and style. Second is he’s lived a very interesting life and has a real feel for culture. His designs have a richness that comes from this. So many designers just chase trends but Black Eyewear’s character is so strong it cuts its own groove. Last but not least is the fact that dad has been fitting frames for well-heeled customers for 40 years. All that knowledge about what customers love and hate about their glasses that he’s collected over the years feeds back into the designs. These things can be very subtle, can be aesthetic or functional. But it’s the reason why you find such passionate advocates of the brand.
From a designer’s point of view What should be considered when choosing glasses?
I think you’re trying to find something that works with your face and fashion sense and that captures your personality and enhances it. Glasses should bring out the best in you, not try to create a different version of yourself.
Please share some recommends for a few of your favourite places in the UK for design inspiration/engagement…
I think design inspiration is everywhere. Either things that are beautiful and inspiring or awful things that make you want to fix them.
What are your 3 favourite frame designs from your father’s collection?