Conceptual Classic Car-Inspired Sunglasses
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The idea of using an engine as a table is obsolete and shabby, but what if an engine’s components are used to serve a warm plate from the block?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.