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On my last day in Berlin, while wandering in Mitte, it came to me that my eyeglass frame by ic! berlin must somehow be related to this city.  After googling the brand on the street, I discovered that their original store was located at Max-Beer-Straße, which is only two blocks from where I was.  So a random walk in this part of town became a pilgrimage.

The store was rather minimal, but unique in its use of old loudspeakers stacked up to form the service counter; and all the glasses were stored in carts that were once used on planes to store meals and drinks.  Honestly, the idea of using the carts is cute but impractical as you cannot see the merchandise directly. The storekeeper has to remember where all the different styles of frames are stored.

My frame was getting old.  So I have to buy a new frame from the mothership – the original store. For the merchandise, check out their website – ic! berlin.

Old glasses …

Brand loyalty is not my thing – after all, I believe “variety is the spice of life.” and there are so many different things out there waiting to be experienced. However, there are a few exceptions.  Eyewear is one.  I got my first of ic! berlin frame (model roman) about 5 years ago after a pair of Silhouette titan rimless.

The German shopkeeper spoke flawless English, and helped me patiently to narrow down the choices to a final selection (model hotel neutor, graphite). For friends who have not seen me for a while, that’s what I am wearing now. (The photo below reminds me of smiling eyes in a cartoon especially after you stare at it a bit.)

The few things I want to say about this German brand of eyewear (founded 1999)  is that the frames are handmade, super light, have great shapes, made from sheet metal and feature patented screw-less springy hinges.  The image is that of hi-tech minimalism, and the designs won them many prizes apparently in Japan.

same old hinge design, different model, same material, different finish

Since I did not stay long enough in Berlin to add the lens, the new lenses were fitted in Hong Kong. The optician also sold ic! berlin frames and was keen to compare prices. I might have paid a little more as there is no sales tax in Hong Kong.

Gotta love their ironic storage tube, the top of which is shaped like a giant screw. Yet their patented design is famous for being screw-less.

I passed their arch-rival Mykita which was just round the corner on Rosa-Luxemburg-Str. 6.  Mykita, founded by ex-ic! employees in 2004, also features a screw-less hinge design but ic! berlin’s hinges certainly look sleeker in my opinion.

ic! berlin also have great lens cloth.

By the time I finished my shopping, it was dark.

Berlin was great city to visit. Take a look at two my earlier posts about Berlin: Axica, the Reichstag.

While looking ic! berlin up on Wikipedia, I discovered that they collaborated with Freitag in designing a eyeglass frame for truck driver.  See this link about the frame and go here for my earlier post about Freitag.


Addendum: in 2014, I got a third pair of ic! berlin, Harmonic Oscillator, see the latest post here. In 2017, I got a fourth pair – cinja s. – click here to see it.


One Comment

  1. Wow, your first paragraph reads as if you were channeling my very own experience, albeit it several years after yours.
    On the last day of my Berlin stay, I also had the last-minute thought to find the IC store. And yes, it was within walking distance too
    Really great staff at their flagship store; she recognised my frames straight away (Urban) and took to it with some pliers to replace the old silicon on the nose bridge and frame legs. Totally complimentary.
    The urban is somewhat sturdier than the sleeker models so just a quick freshen up and they were as good as new.
    I ended up buying their new ‘I See’ sunglasses in black. Wonderful brand, and wonderful store.

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