Nikolaj Schnoor, LINDBERG’s Global CCO and Managing Director, discusses the company’s philosophy, the popular thintanium collection, and investing in product innovation during the pandemic

 What are your main priorities and goals in your role?
The main priorities in my role are to overlook all commercial aspects of the LINDBERG concept. I need to make sure our collections are distributed and presented in the most optimum way to show off the LINDBERG way of design and ultimately offer wearers the best experience from choosing their right piece, to enjoying the product each day. The customer should have access to all 14 collections, from our core titanium collections to our premium horn and exclusive precious range. We also have the LINDBERG kid/teen collection, which is perfect for the outgoing kid as they are strong, comfortable and don’t obstruct a growing child’s features.

As we distribute to selected optical stores, I have to make sure our partners are well trained to understand and present our products in the most appealing and effective way to ensure the end customers are satisfied. To me, the best KPI is great word of mouth, which equals success.

What are your company’s core values?
Design always comes first. Design that feels fantastic to wear with style and comfort – the perfect balance. The brand is motivated by the modern movement of functionalism, where the purpose of the item guides us. It is an aesthetic design language with the absence of excessive ornamentation. Due to this heritage, the brand is all about functionality, uncluttered minimalism and clean aesthetics. We have removed all unnecessary elements like screws, rivets and welded parts from LINDBERG eyewear.

Our designers find great pleasure in letting the material itself do the job. Today, although we work with many other high-end materials like buffalo horn, fine oak, solid gold, platinum and even diamonds, titanium is still at the heart of our products. The material has the advantages of being hypoallergenic, durable and lightweight.

One of the most defining elements of our DNA is customisable eyewear. We recognise the need for style and comfort with a building system that allows the wearer to achieve the ultimate fit and one-of-a-kind look. This supreme building system is still not achievable in the world of mass-market. With customisation, we can uniquely tailor our eyewear down to the smallest detail to help the wearer choose the perfect style, size, colour and material combinations. These details are what matter to the wearer for everyday comfort and style.

We also believe that timeless design lies within craftsmanship, high-quality material, and durability. Integrating these elements requires a push for technical innovation, which pushes our designers and engineers to obsess over every design and technical detail. We’re very proud that every aspect of the LINDBERG design and manufacturing process is done in-house, as we believe premium eyewear should always be meticulously worked on, passed through human hands and never be mass-produced.

What was the biggest challenge in developing Thintanium collection eyewear? What kind of response are you receiving?
LINDBERG’s constant attraction to technical innovation means facing challenges along the process. For the LINDBERG thintanium, the biggest challenge was the brand new hinge system, which was successfully developed based on our experience of working with titanium and investing in new technology. New technology means that the right tools have only been available a few years ago when our designers and engineers started developing the thintanium concept. This engineering milestone in design and technical innovation has most likely achieved the thinnest full-plate titanium collection in the world with a sophisticated and flawless hinge house system.

The new thintanium collection has been well received within the eyewear industry and within the whole design community across the world. LINDBERG thintanium has already achieved huge recognition so far, gaining two of the most sought after design awards: “The Red Dot” “Best of the Best” – the highest award in competition, reserved for the very best products, and the “iF Gold Award” – the best award by iF design where LINDBERG and 74 others received the honour out of 10,000 applicants. The feedback we received is that the LINDBERG thintanium collection is the distinguishable benchmark for the future of titanium eyewear. This product is only a success because of the collaboration between our in-house designers, engineers, toolmakers, production and commercial departments, who have offered their total commitment towards the concept.

Where is the inspiration for designs found?
The brand’s inspiration is taken from creative details seen daily, for instance, in nature, architecture, fashion, interiors and art pieces. We find that architecture and eyewear have the same connection to design ideals. Both are inspired by geometric lines and figures, the latest technology, and industrial simplicity to create refreshing styles. LINDBERG always explores the interplay between design and nature. In organic architecture, buildings are given form to engage with the surrounding natural environment, creating a beautiful balance between the natural and creative world. It draws inspiration from this concept as the eyewear is designed to engage with the natural features of the face and still standout as a designed element to bring out the best in both.

What’s your favourite LINDBERG product and why?
It depends on the occasion as I treasure a lot of the collections. I’m currently mixing up between the LINDBERG thintanium and the LINDBERG buffalo unique. As the horn is a natural material, colours and patterns vary, so each buffalo titanium is, therefore, one-of-a-kind. The one I have is exceptionally special as it has a rare white streak detail at the front – a natural embellishment that really appealed to me. I have a LINDBERG sun titanium in a rim style for leisure – it has a timeless aesthetic and is very comfortable as it holds the same minimalistic ideals and functionality as all of our collections. Our sunglasses are stylish and convenient for high movements like exercising as the adjustability allows them to sit perfectly without sliding down your face. It’s perfect for when I cycle in the mornings before heading into the office.

What’s one takeaway you’ve had as a company during the pandemic?
The appreciation of actually sitting down to learn and explore new ways of working, and to make the brand strive despite the pandemic. Less travelling has given me and the company clarity to see what’s possible and impossible for the LINDBERG brand. We have been doing the best we can while respecting the situation. In times like these, we have actually done the opposite of many other companies where we have invested in the innovation of our products instead of cutbacks in production costs. It’s all about innovative marketing and pushing for cutting edge products. We have seen constant loyalty from our fans, where they appreciate our iconic design and keep choosing LINDBERG.

How important is e-commerce for the brand?
We distribute products to carefully selected optical partners. Currently, we don’t see e-commerce as necessary in the sense of direct business. However, we understand that we need to adapt to the changing digital landscape, so we constantly observe if e-commerce would make sense for us. We pride ourselves in our technical ability in our products and the digital innovation of our customisation tool, and explore if these factors would go hand-in-hand with a new way of selling LINDBERG online, without losing the customer experience of getting the perfect premium glasses with the perfect fit.

What are your ambitions for LINDBERG moving forward?
Staying true to our LINDBERG DNA while constantly developing the brand’s products and sales throughout the world. My vision is to look into the future, innovate and digitalise only where it’s suitable, and ensure we don’t lose any aspects of our core values. LINDBERG’s DNA concentrates on unique designs, unique technical solutions, and of course, working with unique materials. We strive to be the best and push for innovation. So far, the brand has received 108 internationally acclaimed design awards to prove our achievements. The search to continuously optimise by creating, designing, constructing, and producing the impossible, has driven the company from the start to today and the future.