Fabrice Aeberhard — VIU — Interview
Fabrice Aeberhard is a designer based in Zurich. He is the co-founder and creative director of the Swiss eyewear brand VIU.
Hello Fabrice how are you?
Hi Dennis, I am well thank you. It is a stressful but very exciting period right now.
Can you introduce yourself?
My name is Fabrice Aeberhard, I am the co-founder and creative director of VIU. I studied industrial design till 2005, then worked in transportation and automotive design in Munich for a short period of time. In 2006, together with Christian Kaegi we founded aekae, a design agency based in Zurich. We quickly started working with clients in various sectors – branding, packaging, product, cafes, retail stores… This experience was invaluable for getting to grips with overall brand concepts. Around 2008, we founded the bag label QWSTION. Then in 2010, we founded the eyewear brand SIRE. It was sort of the Rolls Royce of glasses – each pair handmade in numerous steps in Switzerland.
And finally in 2013, with Kilian Wagner and Peter Kaeser on the business side and Dominic Müller, an optician, we founded VIU. And since then, my role as creative director is to build the whole VIU world, from the brand to products and stores.
We would like to know more about VIU.
VIU is a Swiss eyewear brand with an innovative approach. Designed in Zurich and handmade from acetate and titanium pure in an elaborate procedure that requires numerous manual steps, the frames are manufactures by traditional companies in northern Italy and Japan. By cutting out the middleman and all related costs, VIU is able to provide its eyewear directly to customers with a very attractive price tag. We initially started online, but quickly added flagshipstores – counting 17 in Switzerland, Germany and Austria right now.
What is the idea behind the titanium collection?
With the titanium collection I wanted to create something very fine, light and different. We chose to source from Japan as they’re the best titanium producers in the world. We only use pure titanium, the strongest and lightest type of titanium there is.
Regarding the design, the frames are very stripped back – only the essentials remain. There are just tiny add-ons for some frames, but It was important for us to incorporate these things that distinguish us as a brand.
Where does your interest in design come from?
Actually I am very interested in art, architecture and design. Back then when I was around 7 or 8, I was fascinated by Japanese mangas and architects like Neutra, Tadao Ando and Mies van der Rohe. It all seemed to be very precise and pure.
But a very important moment was when I was 18 I read an article about daily objects, explaining that people connect to hundreds of products every day without noticing it, because they where designed to be used in a very natural way – I think that was the moment when I decided to focus on Industrial Design.
Do you have a favorite material to work with?
Materials play a very important role in the VIU world, both in our stores and for our frames.
I wouldn’t say that I have a favorite material. I think there is always the right one for a specific purpose or space or function. Most important is that we should know what we are using.
What’s next for VIU?
We are actually working and exploring a lot in different areas. I can’t tell you yet, but the next 6 to 8 months will be very exciting in terms of product range, collaborations, expansion and flagshipstores!
Pictures by VIU. Interview: Dennis Moya, 11.16 ©LIGATURE.ch