Eyestylist interviews Pedro da Silva about VAVA’s future
Pedro da Silva, founder of the company, shared some personal insights about the brand and what he is currently working on, from the opening of new offices, and a major new collaboration launch for MIDO to finalizing the designs for the collection which will show at Silmo 2023.
What are you working on this week?
As usual I’m working on several things at the same time. The priority is to finalize, together with our Sustainability department and Graphic Designer, our first Sustainability Report regarding the year 2021. I’ve also been working a lot this week on our new office building project. This year we have bought a 600sqm space in a post-industrial building in the city of Porto. It’s an ongoing project work we started several months; we are transforming this old industrial space in a beautiful new office. I’m also finalizing the designs of the SILMO 2023 collection, which we need to start prototyping now. Designing product is always a big responsibility, and this week I need to finalize the collection! I’m very happy with the new concepts planned for SILMO 2023.
What was your most important release at SILMO 2022 and what was the feedback?
Our most important release at SILMO this year was model BL0034, which was nominated for a Silmo d´Or. A small unisex square sunglass shape, with round lenses, this minimalistic model stands out for its super small silhouette, nonetheless, the model is interesting because it can fit a great variety of faces due to its generous width of 145mm.
The feedback we received on this style was extremely positive. Customers liked the uniqueness and the avant-garde concept of the model. They were surprised that such a small sunglass could fit so many different faces. The best market feedback for us was the fact that this model was totally sold out by the second day of SILMO. We are bringing it back again for the MIDO fair in February, with new colorways.
VAVA is involved in projects outside eyewear…..what was the NEOPOP installation? Do particular styles or concepts of art work inspire you?
We have always collaborated with Electronic Music Festivals. Back in 2014, the year of VAVA’s launch, we did an important installation at SONAR Barcelona called “RE-ENVISION”. This year we did a beautiful installation at the first SONAR Lisbon. This summer VAVA presented the SPEED – SLEEP installation at NeoPop festival. This space seeks, ultimately, to become a converging point of exchange between customers, artists and music lovers. The installation aimed to explore the dialect between Speed and Sleep. When one first examines the history of the modern age, its seems to be predominantly a history of SPEED. Avant-garde art and design has been visibly in the vanguard of this development and has produced plenty of inventions and innovations that keep the world moving. We are witnesses to the fact that the fascination for speed has been tied to its exact opposite – the desire to pull back and slow down, SLEEP, the craving for relaxation and contemplation. Modern life increasingly imposes itself as a flow of two complementary tendencies: speed and sleep. VAVA’s installation at NeoPop reflected this dualism in a unique way, moving towards a critical theme of modern society.
My keen interest for the Bauhaus movement and minimalism goes back a long way. Basic shapes played a pivotal role in Bauhaus ideas and the way they taught art. Basic and simple shapes, like squares, circles and triangles, the most common shapes in the industrial world stimulate my vision in design. Much of the man-made world is composed of these shapes. On the other hand, I’m very much inspired by science fiction, films like Metropolis, Blade Runner and Space Odyssey, that results from an excessively one-sided belief in technological progress. I wanted to make a label that could associate the highly conceptual language of machinery and the arts. Ultimately, the brand aims to achieve a contemporaneous basic look and at the time an aesthetic which is conceptual and timeless.
Sustainability has become an important focus in what you develop. What is VAVA doing that is over and above the ordinary in this field?
Back in 2014, VAVA was already putting efforts into creating a more sustainable product – a task in which we succeeded – but since then we have put so much of our energy – as so many start-ups do – into trying to navigate through the big waves of the industry. But WE – and society as a whole – need to do much more because the changes required simply are not happening fast enough.
Today VAVA shares this sense of urgency. We must act now. In 2021, with the launch of THEOREM, we entered a new phase, an era where sustainability plays the leading role, and this will be our most important project in the coming years. We are working hard to play our part in the global transition and create a more sustainable product, all the while being a business who truly lives by its values. Protecting our planet must go beyond downsizing our own environmental footprint.
“It is vital that independent labels lead the way and implement advanced sustainability programmes. We are very proud to be launching our first ever sustainability report….”
As we head towards Xmas and then a series of optical fairs (opti/100% Optical and MIDO) what are you preparing, can you give us a sneak peak?
We are pleased to announce that at MIDO 2023 we will be showcasing a very important collaboration with an American Musician. She is a pioneer of electronic music who has been pushing the boundaries of music. She is a musician, sound designer and composer, who found early success in the 1970s with her electronic music and sound effects for films and television commercials. She has been also Grammy Award nominated. We will announce more about her before MIDO!
At the same time, and in time for opti, we will be presenting our newest models from the aluminum series – they had been completely sold out for some time. Our customers will be happy to have them back again. We will launch some ‘carryover’ models in new VAVA colours.
Portrait photo (top) by Amanda Sellem (at Silmo 2022), exclusively for Eyestylist.com.