Dall’idea alla finitura
The production of a new pair of glasses is a creative process, the result of a collaboration 1\1 between the licensed brands and Marcolin’s design, material research, technical and prototype departments. Both teams collaborate in all the phases, from the inspiration to the final production of each piece that, far from being a mere accessory, is able to tell the story of the brand it represents through the appeal of its Italian design and the careful craftsmanship of its production.
The initial phases of the creation of new eyewear, like all the subsequent steps, is a team effort between Marcolin’s in-house teams and the licensed brands. Inspiration comes from the most diverse sources and industries: fashion for seasonal looks, architecture for materials and design for trends. The creative brief comes from the brand licensor that shares fashion show concepts, trend research, vintage inspiration, and materials from their collections with the Marcolin design team.
The design phase is a key stage in the creation of new glasses able to embody a brand’s iconic traits. For this reason, the design team generates several- drafts and model designs working closely with the licensor to guarantee the product’s seamless introduction into the brand line, and the creation of eyewear that is both a fashion accessory and a symbol for excellence and know-how.
Only the best ideas for eyeglasses and sunglasses progress to the prototyping phase. Through an artisanal process defined by extreme care and attention to detail, the prototyping team translates the design drafts into physical objects that represent the beginning of a new collection of frames. Once the prototypes have received final joint approval from Marcolin and the licensed brand, detailed technical drawings are produced. With these serving as master blueprints and quality control guidelines for the glasses. Marcolin is able to guarantee millimetric precision throughout the certified production and the result is a product noted for its perfect fit.
Different materials are used to produce the collections. Every year, the work of the design team with the licensed brands sees the introduction of new, premium materials for the creation of uniquely evocative pieces. Acetate sheets of various sizes and degrees of thickness are used depending on the specific needs of eyeglasses and sunglasses. Metals used for the frames include monel, nickel and steel. For particular nuance, Marcolin makes use of selected and unusual materials such as wood, rhinestone, and leather for its finishing elements. Lenses can be made of CR39, nylon or crystal; they are cut and mounted in a dedicated department that oversees a wide range of colours, thicknesses and finishing options.
Marcolin has 3 distinct glasses production areas: metal frames, acetate frames and finishing. All areas are equipped with state of the art automated, high precision machinery, five-axis machines for acetate frames milling, and semi-automatic machines. Alongside the technological equipment, skilled artisans use their knowledge throughout the production process to guarantee that every detail is a distinguishing element of the eyewear that is produced. Up to 60 phases are necessary to produce a pair of glasses and the skilled hands guarantee that materials and execution pass the strict quality controls at every step.
Metal frames begin their life as a prime material, a simple metal yarn that begins to take shape in the metal wire banding machine. Welding is done by hand in different steps to weld the front and the other metal components, such as the eye wires that hold the lenses, the temples, and the pad arms where the nose pads are placed. Frames are assembled piece by piece for each pair of glasses. These first components are then ready for the tumbling phase. Metal surfaces are polished and then treated with galvanic and protectio coating to obtain the required colours and effects.
Acetate frames starts as acetate sheets of differing thickness, colour and composition. The sheets are cut into strips to make the temples, and into smaller sheets for the production of the fronts before being adjusted by specialised machinery for the required thickness. The next step is to send the acetate shapes for the fronts to the CNC department where avant-garde precision machinery cut the profiles and shapes required for the piece.
The following phase is a very intensive manual one in which where expert workers obtain the shapes required by the design by taking the materials through a successive series of temperature variations. The semi-finished products are now ready for the tumbling process, which is the key to obtaining a high-quality product.
The front of eyeglasses and sunglasses undergo four separate steps through dedicated machines where fine materials—birch and beech combined with smoothing oils and abrasive powders— are used to obtain gleaming surfaces and well-milled shapes.
The strips to use as temples are cut into the desired shapes and prepared to be sent to the next stage where the metal core is inserted inside the acetate shapes. A specialised machine is used to heat up the metal to very high temperatures thus guaranteeing a perfect insertion into the acetate. Once the metal core is inserted, the temples can be personalised as required by the design plans through a milling process in numerical control machines followed by the application of details - such as logos or features - which takes place entirely within Marcolin’s eyewear production plant. Once the temples are polished and shined during the tumbling phase, they are ready to be assembled with the front.
In the final phase the temples and front are milled with a semi-automatic machine to prepare them to be connected. Both the elements are worked on manually by trained operators with abrasive cloths to obtain a seamless integration between the metal and acetate. The frames can now enter the final cleaning stage during which they are processed manually through a wheel of cloth and pastes that polish them until mirror-like.
The final production step is always the finishing one. In this phase the craftsmanship with a great experience in inserting details meet high technology machines for lens cutting. Operators are trained in a range of skills that allow them to work on a wide variety of products with different specifications while guaranteeing an exceptional level of quality control for the final product. Finishing ranges from adding nuances, rhinestones and wood, and the detailing of the temple tips in different shapes, sizes and materials that are attached with specific glues or mechanical processes. Laser engraving as required by the licensed brands is also performed at this stage with machines capable of aiding the human operators in filling the engravings with different colours or effects. At the very end, the adjustment phase takes place and the frames of the eyeglasses and sunglasses are checked in all of its components, from the surfaces and lenses to the galvanic colourings, before being registered. During this phase the product is also assessed for the quality of the fit. Finally, each single piece is readied and wrapped in its brand-specific packaging for retail.