The Handmade Italian Eyewear you need this summer.
The Story of L.G.R
In 1936, Raffaello Bini, was sent to Asmara, an Italian colony in Eritrea, by the Instituto Luce to photograph the war effort. When the war came to an end and his assignment was nearly finished, Raffaello was unable to walk away from the Asmara he had grown to love. He decided there and then to become an entrepreneur. He would import the finest photography equipment from Europe and sell it to the local Italian expatriate population. To do this, he rented a small store in downtown Asmara and started Foto Ottica Bini, where he would sell and develop Kodak film and sell Leica cameras.
Shortly thereafter, he expanded into importing optical frames and sunglasses from Italy straight from the workshops. In the years that followed, his store had earned a loyal following from the local Italian community. Raffaello however, a true entrepreneur also saw an opportunity to create products for the local African community. The year was 1953 and he noticed that few Africans wore shoes. He decided to start making affordable plastic sandals for the locals. In 1956 he opened the Bini Shoe factory, which in less than 20 years became the biggest shoe factory in Africa, producing more than 12 million sandals per year and employing over 1,600 employees.
During this same time, he met his wife Nina and started a family. Life had turned out well for Mr Bini, who had seen an opportunity to establish himself in Africa and had taken it. Unfortunately, this happy part of his life came to an end in 1974. Eritrea was on the cusp of a civil war and the Italian colony was at grave risk. Mr. Bini stayed positive and did everything in his power to stay, but eventually the incoming government sequestered his factory and store along with all his possessions. With his family in hand, he returned to Italy where he remained for the rest of his life.
In 2005 however, he was given the opportunity to return to Asmara by special grant of the Eritrean government to collect his family’s belongings. He decided to take his grandson along with him. It was this very trip that started the story of L.G.R...
On this trip in 2005, Luca Gnecchi Ruscone visited one of the optical stores in Asmara, Eritrea owned by his grandfather. There he discovered a box of sunglasses, which had been imported from Italy 50 years earlier. Fascinated by the elegant design of the frames, Luca brought the pieces back to Italy. The news of his discovery spread, and instantly requests poured in for these unique sunglasses.
He tracked down the original manufacturers and began a small production of the authentic frames, respecting the traditional artisan methods of the past. Soon after, Luca began to sell them to exclusive boutiques all over Europe. Following much success in 2008, he participated to a showroom event in Paris, which resulted in his first published article in the prestigious magazine, Vogue France.
Every model is inspired by places and people from Africa. Asmara, Comoros, Dahlak, Albatros, Fez, Jambo… Now a favourite between celebrities, L.G.R Eyewear can be seen on the faces of celebrities and Royalty from all over the world.
About the Eyewear
L.G.R eyewear is created with the concept of an everlasting object intended to accompany the traveller on endless journeys filled with adventure. Material selection is therefore at the very core of L.G.R. Only the best is sourced in order to ensure resistant and long lasting products. Cellulose acetate is used for its inherent durability and flexibility allowing the frames to adapt to the wearer’s face over time. Metal is used for its strength and design possibilities.
L.G.R eyewear is entirely handmade in Italy by three artisanal families, who build each frame from start to finish using traditional methods of production in order to deliver an authentic and noble product. L.G.R preserves Italian values and heritage through hard work by real people who have spent their lives specializing in this meticulous line of craftsmanship. The result is a genuine product that translates excellence through passion and authenticity.
The brand boasts the highest level of optical clarity in the world and the most effective protection available on the market. Cutting edge technology is at the forefront of lens selection and only the best quality tempered mineral glass is used. Three lens categories are offered to cover the many types of weather, situations and moments one can experience.
Photochromic lenses become darker as sun exposure increases, most useful for unstable light conditions. Polarized lenses selectively filter colour in order to maximize contrast and give a sharper vision, best for reflective surfaces such as asphalt, water and snow. Classic tempered mineral glass lenses offer a variety selection of colours. In order to achieve a unique and elegant product that evokes the essence of L.G.R, exclusive lens colours have been created for their frames, such as Vermillion and Aquamarine.