April 29, 2020
Giovanni Vitaloni, CEO, Nico-Design
History, Italian expertise and advanced manufacturing.
Giovanni Vitaloni explains how Nico-design, owner of VANNI OCCHIALI, upholds its key values with continued success at an international level.
Q: VANNI has been the flagship collection at NICO from the very beginning. Can you briefly explain how the VANNI brand has evolved through the years since 1990?
A: VANNI was created almost 30 years ago, with a creative focus on four key eyewear concepts: the use of colour, attention to minute details in the construction of the frame, Italian provenance (Made in Italy), and respect for Italian good taste recognised around the world. The first collection was launched in 1990 with minimal designs in metal – a trend of the time; they were modernised with an injection of colour, proposing a brilliant tonal palette in place of traditional dark hues. By 2000 the VANNI brand was compelled to work on its own materials, and it began to create exclusive acetate designs expressing its very own style. This was the beginning of an important chapter that is a characteristic of VANNI, as well as its commitment to 100% production in Italy, which today means we are celebrating the launch of our 8th personalised material.
Q: Today the collection has expanded to include a wide number of sun and optical collections. How many styles do you produce each year. Briefly explain the distribution of the collection today.
A: We present two collections each year, according to the fashion calendar: autumn/winter and spring/summer. This is around 30 new optical styles, and 10 sunglasses in each collection, each one in at least 6 colours. By issuing the new models in this way we have the freedom we need to update the spirit of the collection. Smaller caspule collections complement the main lines in the periods between the two main launches; they might be specific collaborations in the world of fashion or design. VANNI is distributed internationally – we are one of the companies representing Italian export, a flagbearer for Italian design and business for which we are very proud. Our frames are available in around 500 Italian optical shops, and via distribution agreements, in over 40 countries worldwide. Our principal markets beyond Italy are France, UK, USA and Canada. These four markets alone represent 75% of our business.
Q: VANNI is described as – ‘limited edition industry’ - what does this mean in the context of Made in Italy?
A: The eyewear market is changing fast. It has become important to communicate in a transparent way about production and work practices, seizing every opportunity to remind customers of our history which is evidence of the values in which we believe. Working with “limited edition industry” means that we attribute to every product a process of design and manufacturing which belongs to an industrial environment, relying on the use of the most advanced equipment and the greatest attention to quality, but in limited quantities in terms of the production itself, with opportunity for research and development. From the first through to the last step, this process takes place in the Province of Belluno and Treviso, where, handed down from father to son, the excellence of Italian manufacture is alive and well and indeed thriving. Producing our frames in Italy is a commitment we wish to guarantee and we would like our customers to have the full knowledge and understanding of what this means. This is why our new campaign at VANNI presents “La forma del gusto” (the form of taste) in reference to Italian food: a good serving of Italian tradition with a VANNI frame, in our new images, come together to express our great lifestyle, which is how we wish to be seen because it represents authenticity. It’s the pleasures such as enjoying pizza, spaghetti, an Italian ice-cream. There is no need to add anything, because everyone recognises the simple pleasure of Italian taste. Just like a VANNI frame, this is ‘Made in Italy’, for sure.
\\ Vanni Remaster in black and gold
Q: In the current 2018 line, what are the key design details?
A: 2018 represents the year of the launch of new editions in block acetate of two historic VANNI designs from our recent past: Pixel and Tangram. Pixel acetate, designed by VANNI and inspired by digital graphics, expressed in primary colours. Yellow, red, blue and white create a design composed of an infinite number of small squares which acquire a 3 dimensional effect, playing with luminosity and transparency. Tangram on the other hand takes the structure of cubes split into irregular pyramids, - inspired by the age-old Chinese puzzle.
\\ Vanni Pixel in exclusive acetate
\\ Vanni Tangram in black with gold bridge
Q: VANNI and NICO-DESIGN’s link with the city of Turin have been an instrumental factor in the design direction and special collaborations you have created through the years. Explain.
A: Of course! We have grown up in this city which has a strong history in mechanics and design, which has inspired us as we have grown and helped us in retaining a deep and serious approach to design work and innovation, with appreciation today for a shift towards other new sectors like food and wine, and culture. For us, involvement with other areas beyond eyewear is fundamental: for example, from the automotive industry which has inspired our surface treatments (particular coatings and work on metal surfaces); at the same time we also have a collaboration with a womenswear label called Kristina Ti, a Turin-based company that has an international success like us and which is innovative in style and materials and this is very important for us. More recently we have launched a collaboration with Eataly, the large Italian marketplace which promotes Italian food and wine in Italy and abroad, and which upholds the perception of quality that we also subscribe to in our campaign, “La forma del gusto” which draws parallels with good food and the authentic production of eyewear. Turin is the capital of Piedmont and a European hub for emerging contemporary art and design, a point that we have always shared as a company by creating our own prize for young artists – this project is called Autofocus. This year represents the 10th edition of the award, which has, over the years, given support to Italian and European artists in bringing the spotlight on their work.
Q: Do you have any special projects coming up for VANNI?
A: We have just established a collaboration with the Scuola Holden, a school for storytelling and performing arts, founded in 1994. The aim is to bring focus on the way in which we tell the story of the brand, particularly going forward.
A new image campaign is planned for 2019, following the existing one, with other references to our traditional food.
Q: Can you give us a hint of the focus at VANNI for the new releases coming to SILMO?
A: At SILMO we will launch the new Macro acetate design, where an imaginary microscope has led us to research minute particles in nature…making them much bigger…but we don’t want to give too much away. There will be a surprise in our sunglasses collection, something daring in acetate with a very strong focus on the material veering towards the mask shape, and a truly assertive look.
nicodesign.it / vanniocchiali.com