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Götti Frames's Subtle Refinement

A closer look at the Swiss brand's inconspicuous innovations, such as their clever folding technology

by Nara Shin in Design on 18 June 2014

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Since 1998, Zurich-based optician-turned-designer Sven Götti has been dreaming up shapes and concepts (releasing about 40 new models each year) that tickle his fancy. At first glance, götti Switzerland frames look pretty conventional with clean lines and retro forms—but upon a closer look, there are details almost invisible to all but the wearer that prove the design has been painstakingly thought out.

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The minimalism starts with the brand logo, if the glasses have any branding at all. On the outer side of some frames, by the temple, are just two square dots representing the umlaut over the "o" in götti. As for source materials, Götti designs frames in titanium (produced in Japan), horn (sourced from Asian water buffaloes) and acetate. He especially enjoys playing with the innumerable colors found within the latter, whether it's creating diagonal gradients in the earpieces or hiding colors within the layers of acetate for a subtle glow in certain angles of light.

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"Swiss design is really reduced and minimal," Götti tells CH about the overarching philosophy. "I always think [this is] because Switzerland is very practical. I mean, if you look back in the history, we are more like farmers. We have never had any king in our country, so we have to invent our own tools and so on. So we are very practical people and not so overwhelming." Citing Acne and Rick Owens as brands he watches carefully, he notes, "People who cross my way during the day can also be inspirational to me. I like to go to design or art exhibitions—there, it is more about the visitors than the subjects themselves who give me input about where the future of frame fashion might go to."

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A particularly unique feature of note is götti's Spin and Stow technology for its sunglasses, and even some titanium eyeglass frames. While glasses-wearers normally wear prescription frames all day and take them off right before bed, it's an entirely different story with sunnies. Walking in and out of buildings, hopping into the subway—those frames are in a state of constant motion and spend half the time in a case. But because of the way they fold in, most require a larger, space-wasting case to protect them. Götti's "Spin and Stow" technology means—thanks to special hinges—the earpieces rotate completely so that the sunglasses fold flat.

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"With sunglasses, you keep playing around with them," Götti notes. "You put them on, then you take them off again or you tuck them away. I always wished to be able to simply put sunglasses in my pants pocket without putting them first in a big case—which you then again have to put in a bag. I like to simplify things as much as I can."

Lead photo and photo of sunglasses turned out by Nara Shin, all other images courtesy of götti

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