Waste is a serious issue in the eyewear industry with a small optician typically binning 200 new display lenses a week. To combat waste, Yair Neuman decided to repurpose lenses otherwise destined for the dump and transform them into striking, sculptural lights. His ‘Lens Light collection’ is made up of hanging spheres, flower lamps, pendants, a fan-shaped base light, and a vase light.
The London-based designer, who has partnered with modern spectacle maker Cubitts on the project, said: “Witnessing the enormous waste generated in the processes of selling eyewear was the beginning of this project.
“By simply collecting these lenses, experimenting to make a new material, we now have, in effect, a new supply chain.”
At Cubitts, as with most eyewear stores, frames are displayed with dummy ‘plano’ lenses that are replaced with prescription lenses once selected by the customer.
They are made from optical grade polycarbonate and usually destined for landfill.
Experimenting in his studio, Neuman developed a method to fuse the lenses into a sheet material.
He creates texture in the pressed sheets by working with the lens form and curve direction, shaping the sheets using jigs, manual moulding and freehand, to create the six unique lights.
The material captures and emits light, with its gleaming iridescent surfaces while embedded filters in the lenses mean colours change depending on the viewing angle.
Neuman’s strong belief that ethical making should come first in the conception of products is in line with Cubitts’ own sustainability philosophy, which puts reducing their environmental impact at the centre of its product development.
In the past, Cubitts has made spectacle cleaning cloths from recycled plastic bottles, spectacle cases cut from a pattern that utilises every bit of fabric, and spectacle chains made from their own acetate off cuts.
Neuman added: “Cubitts has been singular in their support to make this installation happen.
“Most of all the Lens Lights are designed to be aesthetically pleasing, thought-provoking and honest.”
The Lens Light collection, in collaboration with Cubitts, is installed at their eyewear firm’s Coal Drops Yard shop in King’s Cross, London, until September 20.