Patricia Urquiola has brought her whimsical touch to such prestigious brands as Louis Vuitton, B&B Italia, Kvadrat, Flos, Moroso, and Cassina—where she has served as creative director since 2015—with products that toe the line between poetic and playful. Now, the in-demand Spanish designer is adding another name to her impressive roster of collaborators: Jins. The Japanese eyewear brand tapped Urquiola as the sixth talent to design a new pair of frames, succeeding her peers Jasper Morrison, Konstantin Grcic, Alberto Meda, Michele de Lucchi, and Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec.
Urquiola had never tried her hand at designing eyewear, so perfecting her collection, called Hilo (Spanish for “thread”), proved a welcome challenge. “When I started, it became clear to me that the design approach to eyeglasses is totally different from the one applied to our tools for living,” Urquiola tells Surface. “Eyeglasses are objects with a very intimate relationship to the human face.”
Hilo consists of two styles across 12 different frames. Sustainability is the underlying “thread” here, with each frame made from a novel biomaterial—Arkema’s Rilsan Clear G850 Rnew—that makes use of natural renewable resources such as castor oil, which contributes to reduced carbon emissions while maintaining durability. Both styles come in round and square options, with Layer featuring contrasting colored arms and Fluid consisting of bold colored frames that are meant to mimic a single brushstroke. “At the end, our eyes express our soul,” she continues. “Hilo is a very simple piece that you can wear in a very natural way. It’s not an imposing design—it’s adaptive.”