Inuit snow goggles, opera glasses disguised as ladies' handheld fans and experimental sunglass designs from the 1960s feature among a trove of historical eyewear that has gone on display at Design Museum Holon.
The glasses belongs to a single collector, Claude Samuel, the son of a former eyewear designer for French fashion brand Pierre Cardin.
His collection spans some 400 objects dating back to the 17th century, including eyeglasses, sunglasses, pince-nez, lorgnettes, monocles, safety goggles, opera binoculars and the elaborate eye-testing headgear known as phoropters.
Israel's Design Museum Holon – a building designed by Ron Arad – is presenting the collection as one part of its exhibition Overview, which is dedicated to exploring the relationship between vision and design.
"The exhibition will not only enable an observation of the cultural history of eyeglasses, but also of the designer's role throughout the process," said Overview exhibition curator and Holon's acting chief curator as Maya Dvash.
"We tend to forget that the initial purpose of eyeglasses was to correct a flaw, and eyeglasses do not conceal that flaw, but actually emphasise it by means of design."
One of the oldest pieces in Samuel's collection is a pair of iron bow spectacles made by the esteemed Nuremberg Spectacle Makers Guild in the mid-17th century.
The newer examples include Pierre Cardin prototypes from the 1960s, rendered in plastic and incorporating experimental touches like four lenses in two colours, or asymmetric frames.
From the years in between, the exhibition includes less familiar objects like a pair of Inuit snow goggles, made from bone with a fine slit cut over each eye. The eyewear is traditionally made and worn by indigenous peoples of the Arctic to prevent snow blindness.
Some of the most elaborate designs come from the 18th and 19th centuries. Some of the designs from this time combined opera glasses and the hand fans women carried to the theatre combined into one hybrid product.
Alongside the display of Samuel's historical artefacts, Design Museum Holon is presenting 40 specially commissioned eyewear concepts from contemporary Israeli designers. The museum prompted the designers to answer the question "what are eyeglasses?".
A third component to the exhibition features objects from the museum's permanent collection that explore optical illusions related to focus, colour and perspective.
The Overview exhibition opened at Design Museum Holon on 20 December 2016 and continues until 29 April 2017.
Photography is by Eli Bohbot.