Assaf Raviv (left), the founder of pq Eyewear, with one of his company's most dedicated fans, Oprah Winfrey. Assaf Raviv (left), the founder of pq Eyewear, with one of his company's most dedicated fans, Oprah Winfrey. Assaf Raviv (left), the founder of pq Eyewear, with one of his company's most dedicated fans, Oprah Winfrey. (Photo: pq Eyewear)

These 3D-printed glasses are beloved by celebs and can be yours soon

The story behind how the hottest new glasses came to be.

Eyeglasses make a statement about a person. Think John Lennon, Clark Kent or Harry Potter. Celebrities like Oprah Winfrey, Sharon Stone and Pharrell Williams have posted Instagram images with a new European line of glasses called pq Eyewear that have people stopping in their tracks. And you'll be able to get a pair yourself soon, as the brand is about to hit the American market this coming March.

Like the latest in runway couture, pq Eyewear is manufactured using the newest 3D printing technology. The frames are the lovechild of 3D printing and one of the world's most-loved designers Ron Arad.

Arad is a U.K.-based designer and architect from Israel known for his unconventional use of materials and gravity-defying furniture and buildings. Also known for wearing quirky hats, Arad's award-winning design items include furniture made from old car parts, unconventional bicycles and even a leading design museum in Israel that changes color as its metallic surface rusts.

ron arad, 3D printingRon Arad in pq Eyewear. (Photo: pq Eyewear)

One of Arad's fans, an Israeli eyewear manufacturer named Assaf Raviv, approached him and suggested that Arad design glasses that could be printed using 3D printing and laser technology. 3D printing is considered one of the world's most sustainable and innovative ways for manufacturing goods. Instead of using molds with plastics and metal parts fitted together, complicated geometric objects can be constructed from one single piece of material.

Arad initially rejected the idea and sent his fan packing: “He came several times to my office, which I thought was either a dream or nightmare,” Arad recounted jokingly.

Relentless, Raviv continued to pitch the idea and eventually won Arad's heart. The result is carefully engineered frames with no moving parts – arms that won't come unhinged or lost.

Currently sold online and in European boutiques for about $800, these frames reflect the bold Arad aesthetic.

Since Raviv owns an eyewear manufacturing shop in Italy, he found ways to combine artisanal, old-world values of the handmade craft with the automation and elegance of 3D printing.

ron arad, 3D printingpq Eyewear will soon be available in the United States. (Photo: pq Eyewear)

And while 3D printing shops can now be found in every major American city, the pq Eyewear process involves a special technique that they are patenting with a leading 3D printer company. This will protect the integrity of the design, but this partnership will also make sure that the glasses are well made and can be personalized. According to Raviv, the glasses are expected to be widely available in the U.S. beginning in March.

"Working with Ron Arad is nothing but a real adventure,” Raviv tells From The Grapevine. "He is the most creative guy on Earth, very innovative, restless in a good sense. I feel blessed for having the opportunity to work or even to know him."


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