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Blog 1711 Neubau Eyewear Designer Sonia 1

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.

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

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

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.

Blog 1711 Neubau Eyewear Designer Sonia 5

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