Interview of the Month
June 26, 2018

Innovation and design in exceptional materials

Jean-Francois Rey

The French brand has developed special techniques to create lightweight,
design-focused eyewear from thin layers of carbon fibre and wood. 20/20 Europe asked Jean-François Rey to explain how the new concept came about.

Q: Jean-François Rey continues to innovate in new materials. Tell us about the creation of CARBONWOOD?

A: Jean-François Rey CARBONWOOD is a collection of top-of-the-range optical frames which combines vintage codes with a very contemporary design. The models play with the technique of superimposing extremely thin layers of carbon fibers with natural wood in various styles and colours finished with chic design details.
In the past, we have used wood material and carbon/glass fibers. Today we take a new creative approach, with a totally different individual result. The first idea for working with this material mix first came about in July 2016. A year and a half later, the line created a real surprise at OPTI!

Q: Who is responsible for the design concept of this collection?

A: Olivier Mollard, J.F. Rey Design Manager, is leading the R&D on this particular concept but we are always in close relation together. His product and industrial background in eyewear have contributed greatly to the success of the project: research on specific materials, production processes, sourcing and coordination with the suppliers. Inspiration, market trends and technological advances are also key points in the development. But more than anything, the creative freedom promoted we promote together with Joëlle in the ReyStudio allow the designers to constantly push the “normal” limits and imagine original concepts, and this is particularly so with CARBONWOOD.

Q: The line is designed especially for men. Can you explain the minute details that have gone into the styles that bring together a strong tech + style focus.

A: CARBONWOOD includes some pure masculine pieces as they perfectly combine essential men’s style codes.
Always on the look out for new technologies and impeccable style, the male customer will appreciate the pure modern design, the top level, high-tech materials, and the extreme lightness of the frames. The elegance also comes from details such as the flex hinge in the matrix of the temples, and a metal nose pad secured inside the wood and carbon parts.

Q: Explain the material from the styling point of view? How do you highlight the natural grain of the wood?

A: The line proposes different types of design and subtle combinations of materials/colours. It focuses on highlighting.
The aesthetic wealth of materials is subtly revealed on the surface: 100% wood, bicolored wood effects or a combination of both materials. These contrasts give a very particular style and a visual strength to the models. About the process: the fronts are cut from 3mm plates. These are obtained by a superimposing sheets of the material and gluing them together with a natural resin.

Q: In terms of the look of the collection did you want to preserve the DNA of JF Rey in this new combo. How did you do it?

A: The use of materials and colours through a creative, offbeat design approach is a kind of obsession for JF Rey designers! CARBONWOOD was a new opportunity, a new creative and technical challenge for us. The way we explored the materials and the way we used colours makes this line a part of our signature, and the DNA of the brand.
The design favours the look, the quality and the finish with successful contrasts in the materials, colours and textures. The woody colours contrast with electric colours; the intense black of the carbon in all wood or bi-material versions on the fronts give a very particular look to the models.

Q: How many frame styles and colour choices are now available in this line?

A: We launched three concepts (JF2796/JF2797/JF2798) that received immediate success. Each style is available in three colour combinations. It was an exiting but complex process with infinite possibilities in terms of the colours and material mixes.
We created our own palette which is articulated around nine different shades from sheets of sandalwood, cedar wood, wenge, carbon fiber and red or blue fiberglass.

Q: Are you developing this line further in the short-term?

A: Following the great success of the first models, the line will be extended for SILMO with new shapes including women’s styles and new beautiful colour combinations. But let’s keep some surprises for SILMO 2018!

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