AEP Frames by Ballo and Atang Tshikare

Summer gets city-slick with illustrator Atang Tshikare's urban doodles on Ballo's handmade wooden sunglasses.

When the coolest shades in town collaborate with one of the brightest illustrators, you get these: a pair of Ballo’s limited-edition Artist Eyewood Programme (AEP) frames.

Ballo, a wooden sunglass brand founded in Cape Town at the beginning of 2013, manufactures all its products locally with an environmentally conscious ethos. Its first product range, the Eyewood sunglasses, are all handmade in its Woodstock workshop using wooden offcuts from local furniture producers. So far there are frames are made in cherry wood, walnut and imbuia. Each frame is strengthened with a central layer of recycled paper material, is 100% polarised and can be fitted with prescription lenses.

Ballo produces over a dozen unique shapes, and this summer launched the AEP project with its first artist – Bloemfontein-born street artist Atang Tshikare, founder of Zabalazaa Design.

“It was awesome working with Atang on the first AEP range,” says Alistair Barnes, founder of Ballo. “We’ve know each other for years and have always wanted to work together. Our aim with this programme is to show our support for South Africa’s up-and-coming artists and to help South African artists make a living while doing what they love. Twenty percent of revenue from AEP frames goes directly to the artist. Atang is the first and certainly won’t be the last.”

Atang provided a one-off design that has been laser-cut into the top half and temples of the frame. Barnes used coloured paint to bring out the movement of the patterns and draw the eye to the grain of the wood.

The run of the Atang AEP is limited to just 50 pairs, and with interest already coming in from as far as the United States, it wont be long until the AEP project names its second artist. Watch that space.

More on Product Design