Inspired by the Japanese ‘Mottainai’ (もったいない) tradition which is centered around the idea that every object has a soul and should never be wasted, we are beyond the moon, together with optical expert Bijan Azami, to finally present the Mottainai Nº 1: a timeless pair of sunglasses created to last a lifetime.
It has been a long time coming, as we first mentioned the project here over a year ago, but it turned out a bit of a long-term effort to finally share the passion project which is the result of a relentless quest for (our) perfection. Nevertheless, the big moment is eventually here and we feel beyond proud to introduce to you what we have been working on together with Bijan for the last three years. Hopefully this will be the first of more materializations strongly rooted in the fundament that was slowly built since the inception of Another Something & Co, with everything that has been shared and created in the last 9 years being its field of reference. It is safe to say that this project approximates synthesis of the different fields we aim to be positioned in as close as possible.
Less but better: the Mottainai Nº 1 is one single frame, carved from the horn of the Indian water buffalo by gifted craftsman in the world’s best natural horn atelier in the West of Germany. Every frame individually given a unique hand-finished distressed vintage appearance, which will continue to show an evolving beauty over the years of use.
Flawless perfection is for robots.
What Alexander Calder called ‘the scars of labor’ are the human fingerprints that makes something truly special.
— Tom Sachs
As avid lovers of the unique qualities of natural materials, it was decided that horn was the best fit to marry a contemporary design of sunglasses with the heritage of craftsmanship. The frame is made of layered buffalo horn from the Asian water buffalo and is masterfully crafted by hand in one of the world’s most renown ateliers, located in the German Eifel.
In order to maintain the natural elements of the material, the material has been worked until it’s essence revealed itself, to create a look like you’ve already been wearing it for years. Providing strength and durability, the front-face of the eyewear is built up out of six layers of horn, and is set in two colors to create the iconic Mottainai Bridge. The temples are made of 3 layers to preserve lightness and flexibility.
The visual story of the Mottainai brand started, long before any sketch was put on paper, with a photograph of a girl sitting on a beach holding several human skulls, dated august 24, 1938, encountered on one of Joachim Baan’s travels. After some research it turns out that the beach is located on an island in Russia, formerly used as a prison camp, yet the full story behind this image will remain unknown.
Deeply fascinated by this peculiar image, a collection of photographs came to life with one shared element: humans holding a skull — ranging from obscure war imagery, peculiar family portraits, travel photography to bizarre scientists posing in their laboratories. With every one of these images evoking a certain apocalyptic feeling -in line with the Vanitas tradition- the need rose to affix this collection of images to a product in order to celebrate life, which eventually became Mottainai.
Life is short and these photographs are a direct representation of the transience of it all, let it be a reminder to enjoy it to the fullest.
The Mottainai Nº 1 will last that entire lifetime, aging as elegant as its user.
Photography by Rene Mesman.