Marco Barp, Co-Founder of Tree Spectacles, has grown up in a family of eyewear producers in Belluno, Italy. His first collection launched at MIDO in 2012, the result of innovative, forward-thinking R&D to create niche ‘Made in Italy’ products in layers of wood ‘sandwiched’ with carbon fibre – a design innovation which was quickly praised, and patented, for its lightness, comfort, flexibility, and unique beauty. Today the company produces a wide variety of collections with new releases in Japanese titanium and Mazzucchelli’s bio-based M49 acetate. "This article by Clodagh Norton was first published by 2020EUROPE (www.2020europe.com)"
Tell us about your new releases, and particularly those that you would have shown at OPTI in January?
Our aim for the January releases – and those collections we would have taken to opti, was to evolve our collection launches of 2020. This year our releases represented the absolute expression of the brand, our eyewear company and our design philosophy moving forward.
With the success of this focus, we decided to work on each of our individual series going forward, evolving and developing each of the five concepts. For example in the acetate models, we have put more emphasis on the development of the finish and the milling of the edges which adds a clean, sharp finesse in the final product. We have also put a lot of energy into the way in which we present new colours, creating new models which on the one hand are very distinctive while also following closely our style which is all about balance and clean design. We are also creating new titanium models in our Block Series, where we have also introduced a new style of milling the material. Super light, but with slightly larger proportions than before, here too you will find new colour variations for the fronts, we wanted to make the fronts stand out but also add a light and refined equilibrium with these colours and two-tone effects. We are introducing new titanium styles in our Light Series for women where we have paid particular attention again to the finishing techniques to develop a really unique shiny effect in the material. This collection is really very popular and these developments will give the series a new exclusivity.
Innovation in design, materials and use of colour are always a focus at Tree Spectacles. How do these qualities carry through into the new ranges?
Our company is specialising in the design and production of glasses that are original, well made and always the result of innovation and specialist design processes which require technical capabilities and a very strong understanding of how to use materials with different qualities in exciting ways. In our new collections (as mentioned above) it's the details that really stand out, the colour effects, the two-tone combinations and the ways we have milled or ‘cut’ the materials – all these elements come together to create something we believe is really innovative. Our research into materials like Japanese titanium has been intense and has allowed us to reach some goals which are really exciting. It’s a material which allows us to produce frames of very high quality and aesthetic excellence.
“Since first launching Tree Spectacles in 2011, we have continued on the same path with the same philosophy. We design collections with clean, minimal, refined lines and details. We take care to use innovative technical solutions and advanced materials from Italy and Japan.” Marco Barp, Tree Spectacles, Co-Founder
Specifically regarding the materials, you have selected Mazzucchelli M49? What are the aesthetic advantages of this bio-acetate and is it a successful addition in your ranges?
Yes we use this material in some of our collections and we have selected certain colours. Apart from the obvious advantage of it being a bio-based material it is also offers very high quality. The colorations offer a “soft” and unique look which is also very modern. As we are a company which specialises in contemporary eyewear, we felt this material worked extremely well within our range. Eco acetate is an easy material for us to work with and we have found that the results are always excellent and sometimes even better than the regular acetates we had used in the past. Of course for us as a company, sustainability is something we are paying attention to in all elements or our work – so beyond using a bio-based material for example we are using recycled paper and packaging. This way of taking responsibility in all aspects of our work is important to us.
Regarding the other materials: you are very successful with titanium too, is that correct?
Japanese titanium is a very prestigious, technically advanced material with many properties (anti-allergic, lightweight, durable, flexible etc.) which allows us to achieve a very high level of design in our products. It gives us the opportunity to make products with very thin constructions which maintain exceptional robustness, durability and flexibility as well as thicker frames that are still very comfortable and pleasurable to wear. It allows us to innovate and be more experimental, and this is why it has become a fundamental feature of the Tree collection going forward. It has been an exceptional material for us – allowing us to do new exciting things!
For anyone who doesn’t know about Tree, can you tell us how the company was first set up and describe your journey as an independent label so far.
Founded in 2011, we started with a collection of innovative wood eyewear which was first shown at the MIDO fair in 2012. We already new with the success of that collection in the first months that we had an opportunity to develop collections in a wide variety of prestigious materials. When I look back that collection represented our capabilities and everything I knew we would be able to do in the future. Those first wood products were patented as we had created a “layered” design that was quite different from anything on the market. From that point on, we developed our brand philosophy, always adhering to a clear minimalist aesthetic with a clean ultra modern Italian design identity. We gradually introduced different series in different materials, always offering a unique style and sophisticated look. In the last two years, we have seen tremendous recognition and success with our series in titanium and bio acetate which are made in Japan (titanium) and Italy (acetate) by our very skilled manufacturing partners.
Finally, in fashion, trends are changing, and we are expecting a more “seasonless” approach to fashion, and the new environment is bringing the spotlight onto areas such as timeless style, sustainability and authenticity. As an independent eyewear label, are these directions significant for Tree?
Yes absolutely. At Tree this direction is very much in line with what we are already doing. At Tree we have a strong technical approach to design, which focuses completely on the excellence of the product and not so much on seasonal trends. Our attention is not on what is super trendy in fashion, but on the creation of timeless design, sophisticated, and elegant, regardless of the seasons.
Sustainability is also a key focus for us today, and we have adapted our way of working as I mentioned, as well as some of our primary materials to ensure we are in line with this way of working for the future. We see ourselves as a super modern company and we take a super modern approach in everything we do.
Authenticity is the basis of that. A small independent Italian company, each of us has an established history in the eyewear industry and many years’ experience of research, design and real, highly dedicated technical innovation. These are qualities which our customers can identify in our products immediately.