There’s something about the Porsche Design brand that captures everyone’s imagination. Initially conceptualised as a family-owned company offering motor vehicle development work and consulting services, Porsche evolved to become one of the world’s most respected manufacturers of high performance sports cars.
While a Porsche sports car is out of reach for most consumers, the German brand also offers a range of lifestyle products that are designed and manufactured with the same approach to purist design and intelligent engineering. Among them is Porsche Design eyewear.
The Porsche family has a long history in car design and manufacturing, beginning in 1931 with the establishment of ‘Dr. Ing. h. c. F. Porsche GmbH’ by Ferdinand Porsche in Stuttgart, Germany. Although initially the company didn’t build any cars under its own name, one of its first assignments received from the German government, was to design a car for the people. The much loved Volkswagen Beetle was the result of that assignment, and it remains one of the most successful car designs of all time. Interestingly, the Porsche 64 was developed in 1939 using many components from the Beetle.
With a vision that extended beyond the limits of the automobile, Prof Porsche applied the design and engineering principles of the legendary Porsche 911 to a range of exclusive lifestyle products
During World War II, Porsche designed a military version of the Volkswagen Beetle as well as prototypes for tankers. However soon after the war, things changed when the company was taken over by the British and Ferdinand was arrested for war crimes. While never tried, he spent 20 months in prison, during which time his son, Professor Ferdinand Alexander Porsche, gained control and the first models of the 356 – regarded by many as the first Porsche – were built. The 356 was road certified in 1948.
When it came to design, Prof Porsche’s credo was perfectly logical: “If you analyse the function of an object, its form often becomes obvious”.1 Further he said, “A formally harmonious product needs neither decoration, nor exaggeration. The form should draw its life from the bare minimum and must not distract from the product and its function.”1
This approach can be seen in the 911, created in 1963 and described as “one of the most significant design objects in contemporary history”.2 Indeed, a tongue-in-cheek glistening red plumped up version of the 911, created by Austrian sculptor Erwin Wurm, sits prominently in the Museum of Old and New Art in Hobart, Tasmania.
Considered by many to be the greatest car of all time, some have even gone so far as to say, “almost no car will stir your soul like the 911”.3
The unmistakable silhouette of the 911 is characterised by its iconic fly-line and has barely changed since 1963. It has shaped the DNA of all Porsche models, including the 911 Cabriolet and Targa models.
CLEAN LINES, HIGHLY FUNCTIONAL EYEWEAR
But it’s not only automobiles that the 911 has influenced. With a vision that extended beyond the limits of the automobile, Prof Porsche applied the design and engineering principles of this legendary model to a range of exclusive lifestyle products marketed under the banner ‘Porsche Design’.
Designed by the Studio F. A. Porsche in Zell am See, Austria, every product within the Porsche Design collection is exclusive and stands for “extraordinary precision and perfection at a high level of technological innovation, and for a unique symbiosis of intelligent functions and a purist design”.1
Like the Porsche 911, Porsche Design sunglasses and spectacles combine clean lines, high levels of functionality and are manufactured from carefully selected highquality materials. The technical details, such as the hinges, meet the high standards that apply to all Porsche Design products. And, as you’d expect, the polycarbonate lenses fitted into Porsche Design sunglasses, available in different shades of darkness, offer 100% UV protection, providing protection for the eyes as well as a stylish, fashionable look.
PLAYING ON THE PAST
This year, Porsche Design launched new eyewear models within its Iconic series at Opti, Germany’s annual international trade show for optics and design.
One of these was the new limited edition P‘8685 Hexagon, which the designers argue represents the perfect fusion of the Porsche Design philosophy and the highest level of engineering skill.
“The masculine design is inspired by the engine block of a sports car,” said a Porsche Design representative. “Eight hexagon screws hold the front, which is milled out of solid titanium, and that way give the sunglasses a unique, striking look. The precision and stability of the construction are emphasised by the exclusive manufacturing – each frame is screwed together individually, by hand. Light frames made of the highperformance plastic RXP and polarised lenses ensure maximum wearing comfort.”
To ensure the exclusivity of the Iconic P’8685, production was limited to 911 units.
Another addition to the Iconic series is the P’8478V Colour of the Year 2020, which pays homage to Porsche Design’s first P’8478 and the world’s first sunglasses with interchangeable lenses, created in 1978 by Prof Porsche himself.
Like the 911, Porsche Design describes this frame as “a true style icon that is still being produced today with an unchanged design”. Having been sold several million times, the unmistakeable look of the spectacles has now been reinterpreted in the Colour of the Year edition. Shiny blue contrasts with silver highlights emphasise the teardrop shape of the lenses and the characteristic nose bridge. The P’8478 Colour of the Year 2020 edition comes with silver-mirrored interchangeable lenses and is limited to 2,000 specimens.
The very masculine, technical P’8693 is another new frame that pays homage to Porsche Design’s original designs – this time the iconic P’8479 shield spectacles. P’8479 was launched to the market in 1979 and is still worn enthusiastically by world stars from the music and film industries. Based on this design classic, the new P’8693 captivates with a metal bridge of contrasting colour that runs along the top edge of the rimless spectacles and is secured with striking hexagonal screws.
More futuristic is Porsche Design’s Fusion line, which boasts enticing contrasts in shape, material and surface. Crafted from high-performance plastic RXP with shiny metal and narrow temples, Fusion presents a futuristic techno style of sunglass. The range is supplemented with Karée, a unique spectacle model available in pilot and squared-pilot shapes (P’8365, P’8691, P’8692).
Porsche Design eyewear is distributed in Australia by Rodenstock. Contact (AUS) 02 9748 0988.
- press.porsche-design.com/en/porsche-design-launchesinnovative- world-time-watch