Corvin Cristian - sunglasscurator

Corvin Cristian

The wait is over! This new AW18 season comes in full swing with a new edition of our GUESTCURATOR series, featuring Corvin Cristian, an internationally awarded architect & interior designer with a soft spot for music. A savvy urban gentleman, who has answers to all our questions ;)

We had the pleasure of interviewing him at his home for which he was awarded at the Biennale of Architecture in 2008.
During our visit, Corvin sported his favorite pairs of eyewear from our gallery of styles while showing us around the home. An innovative space built around the living room plays the role of an interior yard, offering a view of all the rooms of the house through large windows.

Take a look around and get intrigued by stories full of insights and funny remarks.

Corvin Cristian wearing Thom BrowneTHOM BROWNE '906 01'

You worked in advertising, as well as a production designer for movie sets. Now you divide your time between interior and object design. Which of these disciplines is closest to your heart? What excites you most about your work?

They’re both just as close. It excites me to see the final work, the finished product, then I can rest and enjoy really exciting activities.

Corvin Cristian wearing Massada EyewearMASSADA 'THE GRADUATE'

Do you ever feel the pressure of the blank page?

Not anymore. I felt it up until a few years back. Nowadays I can shamelessly copy all kind of cute things from design sites with minimal creative effort and if I have difficulties explaining why I chose to do this or that, I always have a handy answer: because it’s trendy and cool! Joking but really, the abundance of ideas is such that it is easier than ever to design something but more and more challenging to be original or authentic.

Corvin Cristian wearing Thom BrowneTHOM BROWNE '907 02'

When does a certain design become ICONIC?

Such complex question deserves sharing some of my collection of platitudes.
I think it can be called ICONIC when it embodies the essence of a period, of a style, it has a strong personality, it is original and authentic and it is extremely influential, among others. It’s not enough to be famous. To detail a bit: If we speak about the “classics”, there were lots of reasons why and when some objects became iconic, good design being one of them. The closer we get to recent times, the balance between exquisite design and marketing efforts inclines towards the latter. Think for instance of a powerful franchise like James Bond that can launch to ICONIC stardom any product should a team of consultants (or, more recently, an algorithm) consider it marketable and a sponsor be willing to pay enough for it to be featured. ICONIC also refers to the personal style of certain public figures endorsing the design. Opposite to a century ago, today’s “personal branding” is often the product of a team of professional stylists so it falls in the category of manufactured look which scores little on authenticity. So, I’d be wary of what glossy magazines define as ICONIC as it’s sometimes just a selling proposition, and not much of a unique one.
For fun, here’s a Tony Chambers (Wallpaper) article about ICONIC looks in the fashion and design world involving the “iconic” features of the likes of Karl Lagerfeld, Rick Owens, Anna Wintour, Karim Rashid, Marcel Wanders, Rossana Orlandi, etc. British sarcasm at its best, a tender look at the ridiculousness of trying too hard to be(come) ICONIC.

Corvin Cristian wearing Thom BrowneTHOM BROWNE '907 01'

We noticed you have a soft spot when it comes to designing chairs. Tell us the story behind: TAKÎM, DCP and YO designs.

Many architects have this ambition at some point in their career. Perhaps it’s an ego thing since they say it’s more difficult to (properly) design a chair than a building. Some of them are conjunctural, I designed them for specific projects as I did not find on the market a chair to perfectly fit the project. This is how they came to life. I do believe in the DCP chair. Having it all black was Mihai Popescu’s idea, I loved it and now we are preparing a black edition.
It is a chair inspired by Jean Prouve, Alexander Calder and industrial workshop furniture, all with a steam punk touch.



Is Romanian design aligned to the international market? What do you think is the role of Romanian Design Week when it comes to it?

If we speak as a whole probably it isn’t but there are designers way ahead of the rest of the local market that are well aligned to any international standard. RDW does a great job in raising the bar for everybody and increasing Romanians’ knowledge and interest in their own design talents.


How do you see the connection between fashion, interior design and architecture?

Between architecture and interior design there’s at least the connection that they could share the same space so they have to somehow be aware one of each other but apart from that, they require a different set of skills. Some architects are terrible interior designers and most Interior designers don’t have a clue about architecture, to say nothing about fashion. In a Dezeen interview Marc Newson said: "Most industrial designers don't have a clue about fashion, most architects don't have a clue about fashion. There are never very successful crossovers, creatively." And he seems to be right, as I can’t remember any famous one either. But, of course, we, architects, are convinced we have an infallible sense of style. Which only makes things worse. :)

What’s your favorite architectural period?

I like very understated buildings, not necessarily belonging to a period. Cycladic fishermen houses for instance, rural homes anywhere in the world with no definite period signature. The kind of buildings that are not even considered Architecture maybe.

Who are some of the most inspiring designers/ architects for you?

Among many others: David Chipperfield as architect and Jasper Morisson as designer. They both manage to design extremely elegant, so elegant they almost go unnoticed, but not because a lack of personality. On the contrary, they are not focused on designing things that draw attention as they are truly original anyway, they blend seamlessly and give a deja vu like feeling.

Corvin Cristian wearing MASSADA Eyewear 'Spanish Coffee' optical glassesMASSADA 'SPANISH COFFEE'

Tell us about your workspace – is it tidy or chaotic? What’s on your desk right now?

It’s tidy; I can’t work in a chaotic space. I have a lamp, speakers, some pencils and a pile of papers I just can’t get rid of no matter how much I try (basically old stuff I’m afraid to throw)

You designed the interiors of lots of restaurants. Is brilliant design the secret behind a successful place?

I still think food should be the secret behind the success of a restaurant. Brilliant design could also mean a family run restaurant whose owners never thought about design but functionality shaped it to perfection over the years.
So, to answer your question in short: Design is not important. My job is not important, which is good because it means it involves less responsibility so it is more relaxed. In the end, it seldom happens for restaurants to close because of bad design.


How would you describe your design signature?

Simple not simplistic, complex not complicated.

We know about your passion for music and that you’re part of “Better Than Nada”, an eclectic musical duo. Tell us what’s the secret to a fantastic party.

The secret is the people. Perhaps that’s why there aren’t so many fantastic parties around: not enough fantastic people.


Corvin Cristian wearing Orlebar Brown translucent round sunglassesORLEBAR BROWN '6 C3'THOM BROWNE '907 01'

What role does music play in your life? Which are the music genres you mostly mix when DJ-ing?

We (Calin Mailat “No Clue” and me) like music and whenever we discover some beautiful tunes we enjoy sharing them with friends. The mixes are extremely eclectic but it’s a subspecies of deep house that we play most often.

What are your favorite music festivals / events?

I don’t have enough time to attend too many so I wouldn’t really know much about festivals but I liked it at Burning Man, I like Sunwaves, Electric Castle too. Then there are some beautiful sunset musical rituals at Scorpios.

Berlin or New York?


Mykonos or Saint Tropez?

I love the architecture in Mykonos and some specific places, just not that part involving an ostentatious display of wealth without elegance. Unfortunately this is an important and growing part of Mykonos tourism with the island being the victim of its own success as it grows into a fief of nouveau-riche vulgarity.
I didn’t go to Saint Tropez in season but I heard it’s similar. I know it sounds a bit “hater-like” but these are facts just too obvious not to be mentioned. I liked the Saint Tropez from the Louis de Funes movies though. :) 

Corvin Cristian wearing Thom BrowneTHOM BROWNE '903 C'

Heritage or New Wave?

Heritage, I suppose.

Burning Man or Coachella? – please detail the reasons for your choices.

Never been to Coachella. I don’t think it is my kind of festival but, as I mentioned, I am not the typical festival-goer, I am too picky about the music.

Corvin Cristian wearing Thom BrowneTHOM BROWNE '015 LTD'

We think eyewear can deliver exquisite design pieces, with interesting shapes and unexpected material associations. Tell us what you look at when choosing an eyewear piece?

I must say I am quite primitive in taste, I choose whatever I think looks ok on me. :) 

Corvin Cristian wearing MASSADA Eyewear white gold sunglassesMASSADA 'THE GRADUATE'

What is your favorite brand from our gallery of designers?

Thom Browne, MASSADA and DITA.

Corvin Cristian wearing Orlebar Brown translucent sunglassesORLEBAR BROWN '6 C3'

Associate a song and city with your favorite frame from our gallery.

The ones in the picture above (Orlebar Borwn '6 C3') I associate with Venice and perhaps The Venture's 'Caravan' song.

photographer: Raluca Margescu