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Blog 1711 Neubau Eyewear Designer Sonia 1
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People of neubau: product designer Sonia Serlenga

neubau eyewear isn't your typical anonymous label but a familiar brand with dozens of different faces and real stories to tell.

Sto­ries about the love for high qual­i­ty, strong design, inno­va­tion as well as per­son­al expe­ri­ences in Vienna’s Neubau dis­trict and lat­est dis­cov­er­ies in their neigh­bor­hood. Frame of Mind wants to intro­duce the peo­ple that make every­thing hap­pen. An inside view of what’s hap­pen­ing behind the scenes. The sec­ond one in this series is Sonia Ser­len­ga who’s work­ing in the com­pa­ny for ten years already. When the Ital­ian born moth­er of two isn’t design­ing frames like Sig­mund, Diana, or Heinz, she finds her inner bal­ance while pas­sion­ate­ly doing yoga. She’s a true cre­ative with count­less sur­pris­es yet to be dis­cov­ered. Enough rea­sons to get to know her better…

What is your favorite part about your job at neubau eye­wear?
Being a design­er. The whole expe­ri­ence I’d say! I mul­ti­task con­tin­u­al­ly. I love being curi­ous about peo­ple and their unique styles: find­ing out that spe­cial detail that makes them more inter­est­ing. I am like a sponge. I observe real­i­ty and absorb infor­ma­tion quick­ly and deeply: from design, to art, music, and food… And as soon as I take a new project I love to take a huge breath and dive deeply into it.

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Is there any­thing peo­ple might not know about your job as a design­er?
I love being iso­lat­ed when I draw: I can real­ly focus. I wear my big head­phones and lis­ten to good music. Each of my frames has its own spe­cial soundtrack.

From all the glass­es you have designed, which one is your favorite and why?
They’re all my chil­dren” and rep­re­sent dif­fer­ent peri­ods of my life. It’s like con­nect­ing the dots in order to under­stand the big pic­ture. They’re all part of a tra­jec­to­ry that you can­not imag­ine in advance, but it makes sense when you stop for a moment and watch with atten­tion. Each project inspires the next. What mat­ters is they are not sta­t­ic… Noth­ing is per­ma­nent and the style reflects the moment in which I live.

What makes a good design for frames? Is there any­thing par­tic­u­lar you always keep in mind when design­ing?
With each new neubau design the key word for me is to be con­tem­po­rary. Try­ing to sense the zeit­geist, find­ing out the gift” of this present moment and trans­late it into a unique indi­vid­ual shape.

Blog 1711 Neubau Eyewear Designer Sonia
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Do you have a cer­tain process when design­ing?
I don’t work… I only play.” That’s a quote I love and that’s how I design: I try to have fun in what I do. I open my eyes to all the beau­ty our incred­i­ble world has to offer and find my own way of trans­lat­ing this into my designs.

Occa­sion­al­ly some­thing comes straight into my head, but the most impor­tant thing is feed­ing it with lots of visu­al mate­r­i­al, it doesn’t mat­ter if it’s good, bad or indif­fer­ent, but it is then a resource that pro­vides the mate­r­i­al that can be reassem­bled or used in dif­fer­ent ways to make a new thing.

I don’t think any idea comes when I want it to. I guess there are ways in which my think­ing evolves but it is usu­al­ly more coin­ci­den­tal. Like see­ing some­thing while you’re think­ing of some­thing else and that then hav­ing an influ­ence, a spark, so that your imag­i­na­tion does the rest.

Blog 1711 Neubau Eyewear Designer Sonia 4
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Does the fact that you have Ital­ian roots influ­ence your designs?
Oh si! It is the lega­cy of us Ital­ians to have an eye for beau­ty and an appre­ci­a­tion for the sen­sa­tion­al they say. I believe what draws all Ital­ian design togeth­er, is an inim­itable sense of dra­ma. And that’s what I like to play with when design­ing a new pair of eye­wear for neubau. Look­ing good has always been a key aspect of Ital­ian cul­ture. Pas­sion for fash­ion is our nation­al passion!

But in gen­er­al I’d say that ALL design­ers share the same pas­sion, to sim­ply cre­ate. It’s in our blood, not from the coun­try we come from. There’s real­ly no secret: fol­low your heart, put a part of your­self into the work to share with oth­ers. Let them see YOU”.

You have two kids – what is your best tip for bal­anc­ing a good work life with fam­i­ly-time?
A con­stant in my style and my life: the enthu­si­asm and ener­gy that I infuse into what I love. I am always busy…that can be a good thing though, if you love what you do. My tip is to try to stay pos­i­tive what­ev­er hap­pens – this world needs pos­i­tive people!

Stay in the present moment. The present for me is some­thing that you real­ly have to live intense­ly because it’s a gift. Between fam­i­ly and my work life I can­not live so much in the past nei­ther be trans­port­ed in the future. I am now. This is my prac­tice, some­thing that I try to focus on and cul­ti­vate, day by day, like a small plant: the seed you water it grows and becomes a big tree eventually.

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Apart from spend­ing time with your fam­i­ly, what is your favorite thing to do or place to vis­it to relax and gain new ener­gy?
I love to trav­el because it’s when I feel most alive. It always changes my per­spec­tive. Trav­el­ling makes me fall in love with my life over and over again. It is a time when I’m inspired to seek new adven­tures, to explore, to make new mem­o­ries, to con­nect to our beau­ti­ful Earth and every­thing around me. I also love to prac­tice yoga, med­i­tate and being cre­ative… I love to open my heart and my mind to the world, and find the things that con­nect with me.

What is one place every­body should vis­it in Vien­na?
Har­vest’ – it’s a nice cosy veg­e­tar­i­an bistrot I love to have long brunch­es in. I’m Ital­ian, so I like moments when we all eat togeth­er. Con­vivi­al­i­ty to me is a very impor­tant moment in Ital­ian cul­ture: where there is food there is well-being. So, if you look for a con­tem­po­rary place with excel­lent music choic­es and good food, that’s your place for relax­ing and get­ting inspired on so many levels…

If you had to turn this place into a pair of glass­es, what would it look like?
I would say it would be a unique con­tem­po­rary shape like Fri­da for example.

If you could design a per­son­al pair of glass­es for any­one in the world, who would that be?
I’d love to design a pair of sun­glass­es for Xavier Rudd, an Aus­tralian singer, surfer and eco activist. He is a nat­ur­al mys­tic, a beam of light point­ing in the right direc­tion… I love his music and the mes­sage he con­veys through his lyrics (he had been the sound­track for many of my neubau frames). He is a peace­ful war­rior invit­ing us all to move from sep­a­ra­tion to union.


10 Nov 2017 · neubau eyewear