Berlin-based ic! berlin produces beautiful and unique screwless sheet-metal glasses, which are crafted by hand in Germany’s capital. With their signature clip-on hinge system all the glasses by ic! berlin feature a hinge, which holds together both frame and temple with a detachable clip totally free of screws. Therefore all glasses can be disassembled and reassembled individually. Next to the clip-on system ic! berlin has also found an extremely flexible steel for their frames, which added up with the hinge system turn the glasses into small unbreakable objects. A very convenient solution for a lot of people, with a lot of glasses being well-designed, but very fragile. For founder Ralph Anderl his glasses combine ideas and perfectionism: the glasses are elementary and naked, in the same way they are as much off the wall as they are suitable for everyday use.
Ralph Anderl, who earned a Phd beforehand, started ic! berlin in 1997 with two of his friends, with all of them having no inkling about the optical industry. He brings a dogmatic approach to his business, based on his thesis on ‘Cultural Pedagogy’, which is the study of the breakdown of culture and its impact on education, literature, politics, music and philosophy. Besides driving ic! berlin’s business worldwide, he is also the face of the brand, appearing in many of its marketing campaigns and being the pinnacle of all business partnerships ic! berlin enters. Only one year after Anderl and his friends started ic! berlin they won the prestigious design prize Silmo D’Or after which they were turned down by Mikado Optic to produce the glasses. This was a disappointment for his friends but Anderl has stated he was happy because this would mean they were going to do everything themselves.
At that time they were working with suppliers from the car industry, which were the only partners that were able to do the things how Anderl envisioned, both when it came to the quality standards and the quantities he wanted at that time. In 2003, Anderl and friends started their company to produce in-house, after which Anderl created the space to gradually work out every aspect of the vision he had for his brand. One of the partnerships that arisen over the years is the producers of ic! berlin’s lenses: Transitions Optical. They recently unveiled a beautiful new color to their Signature lens offering: Graphite Green. The new color fits the ic! berlin frames aesthetically perfect and simultaneously offering Transitions Optical’s signature superior light management technology, which optimises vision.
When asked what Anderl believes the secret is behind the success of his brand he has a clear answer:
Customers love being a part of a story. Everything we do is reproduced in the center of Berlin. We have a do-it-yourself set where people can build their own glasses. This really helps them understand the flexibility we offer. Another unique marketing aspect is that in each frame, you would read ‘Questions, call Ralph’ with my cell phone number. We don’t get many calls though, maybe because the customers don’t often bother to read on the inside of the the frame, or simply don’t believe that anyone would answer the phone.
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