Journal: Conceptual Classic Car-Inspired Sunglasses

Conceptual Classic Car-Inspired Sunglasses

By Samir Shirazi
August 3, 2015

Artwork by Samir Shirazi

Like many other car enthusiasts, I was once a boy with paranoid ideas about the future of cars. I draw them in a super amateur, childish way. Again, like many others, I kept drawing them with a dream of being a car designer—but there were no opportunities for to become a designer in Iran.

My family were afraid there would not be any jobs for an artist, so I never studied art. As I could not imagine myself doing anything else outside of the car field, I twisted the problem by studying industrial engineering and then a Masters of Architecture.

It was the only course with the chance of a job, but working five years in soulless construction projects taught me that I am not one who sits and obeys the tight rules…with an outcome of a cube house.

I love curves.

Fast forward a few years and I finally made my latest step, and moved to Italy to study design. My childhood idea was about to come true, becoming so close to being a car designer and changing the world of transportation for the best. But it seems unrealistic, doesn’t it?

Problem? The objects I showed an interest in were nothing but cars, cars, and cars. I was coming from another country to Florence, center of art, I wanted to become a car designer with no educational background, and, finally, there’s a strong idea of what Italian design is all about.

At first, no one showed any interest in my designs, as I was not studying “car design” but only “design” in general. As I took the courses, I became more mature, and began to listen to my professors as they suggested I think more realistically—but they also understood my passion for cars and encouraged this talent in me.

The idea of using an engine as a table is obsolete and shabby, but what if an engine’s components are used to serve a warm plate from the block? What if we use wine cork in car interiors for more sustainable interiors? What about a helmet that translates conversations between you and the next driver, as an example of communication design?

Most of us say that our cars have soul, but if we imagine they do so, what do they feel? Smelling hot oil on asphalt? Touching leaves on a narrow path past a garden? Feeling cold in winter? Annoyed by spilled Coke-Cola? 

Once, I was photographing a hot-rod ’69 Chevrolet Camaro in Australia, and I found myself trying to make a photo from inside the engine bay with a perspective of the front grill, of how the car actually sees the world. I just passed a course in fashion design with this question in mind: “How does a car see the world?”

At first, I sketched and tried many cars to know how they might be able to “see”. The result was that I designed sunglasses so an owner would be able to have a better imagination of how his or her car sees. Not all of my designs were great at first, but I made things more and more realistic across lots of revisions.

A Mercedes-Benz 300 SL “Gullwing” front fascia, for instance, is like a face itself. By adding its side iconic louvers and taking inspiration from the still material, the owner has a “Gullwing” face!

The Cord 810 optical glasses were a suggestion of Michael, editor or Petrolicious. It fitted well with the professor’s taste, so I recreated the simple shiny Cord “coffin” front grill as sunglasses.

The design inspired by the ’69 Chevrolet Camaro is a conceptual one of the car’s roofline, combined with body lines as its arms. You can have the 396 stripe kit on it—optional, of course! This particular object is designed to show the concept of hidden functionality, as they sport a hidden optical lens: you can easily remove the sunglasses lens, and then the second lens acts as an optical glass.

I am looking forward to exploring this idea with a real brand, because I’ve learned one important thing: being a designer that makes a wider range of products is is probably better than being “just” a car designer. 



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Emanuel Costa
Emanuel Costa
8 years ago

Too weird, I think. I’m all for Ray Ban knock-offs, Luxotica as enough money and control already.

Guitar Slinger
Guitar Slinger
8 years ago
Reply to  Emanuel Costa

Luxotica – Agreed 150\% . Thats why I recommended he contact Raen and why my sunglass of preference are classic Persols , Maui Jim’s as well as Assos for the bike . Unfortunately I’d purchased my latest pair of RayBan Wayfarer’s before being clued into the mega monster that Luxotica has become or I’d of bought a similar style glass from Raen . Christmas ! Anymore its a freaking miracle to find a sunglass company or brand who isn’t owned by the Borg of sunglasses … Luxotica .

And yeah … Samir’s glasses are a bit too weird for this gentleman of a certain age as well . But … if he ever gets them into production and does it right …. I’ll bet they’ll sell like funnel cakes at a county fair [ US idiom meaning they’ll sell like crazy ]

Emanuel Costa
Emanuel Costa
8 years ago
Reply to  Guitar Slinger

In Portugal the equivalent would be ‘sell like hot buns’. Bread always draws more people than cakes and cookies around here!

Christopher Gay
Christopher Gay
8 years ago

Keep up the good work, Samir! You just gotta keep pushing onward, and get your work out there. Follow your own vision, trust your instincts, don’t be afraid to take chances, keep the ball rolling, and never rest on your laurels.

We look forward to seeing your work as it develops!

Guitar Slinger
Guitar Slinger
8 years ago

Allow me to add to Mr Gay’s comment by passing on a bit of excellent advice I was given by a mentor [ and now friend ] back in my younger days that unfortunately took me a good twenty years to get my head around ;

What he told me after we’d been jamming around for a few weeks , he passing on some knowledge and technique along the way was this . I’m paraphrasing by the way as this was the mid 70’s .

He said that just from listening to what I was doing that I had something original and ground breaking going on . It was still rough .. in need of evolving and refining but it was there and it was worth pursuing . He then told me I needed to put aside any immediate dreams of glory as well as not pursuing the almighty dollar [ e.g. not going ” Strictly Commercial ” ] in order to give the time and energy needed to get where I was going as genuine innovation is a product of time and sweat . Not immediate gratification and chasing the money game .

I’ll pass that on to you because in my opinion you’re in the same position . You’ve got something good brewing and its going to need time to develop. So take a page from my book and DON’T make the same mistakes I did pursuing the money machine instead of my visions . But rather take a page from American composer Charles Ives who used business to subsidize his vision .

By the way .. what happened 20 years later you may ask ? 21 International composers awards , two very successful CD’s [ in the black within 30 days ] multiple successful students in many genres , more or less retired when I was in my mid 50’s etc . So take the good advice .. and pass on my stupid mistakes . Do what ever to put bread on your table for now using that to pursue your vision

Guitar Slinger
Guitar Slinger
8 years ago

Well one advantage you have with the sunglass design assuming you’re still in Italy is the fact that the worlds largest sun and eyeglass manufacturer as well as owing some 80\% of all the brands , designer included is located right up in the Lake District of Italy . Having said that I’d also recommend contacting US sunglass manufacture Raen as they seem to lean towards somewhat different designs and I know they’re looking for new markets to conquer .

As for me though ? Well … I’m kind of hooked on classic Persol’s with a Rayban or two and Maui Jims for sport as well as ASSO for the bicycle . But I like where you’re heading … so do carry on !

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