Patrick & Bieke HOET

Bieke, you have followed in your father’s steps growing with a father who, in our opinion, is one of the most brilliant and audacious creative talents in our field, tell us about your background and about your route.

Being the daughter of somebody who earns a lot of respect in the eyewear business has its advantages. I am happy to have the opportunity to share and continue the road my father explored 25 years ago. The day I graduated, I was invited to join the design office. To do whatever I wanted and let creativity be my guidance during this journey. You can understand that this was an invitation one could not refuse. Having this freedom I focused first on furniture design, to be integrated in optical shops. Of course, not the traditional recognizable stuff, but a more exciting approach. That is how I built a library of materials and technologies resourced out of many different businesses as my tools for creation. Wanting to do things differently, it was not and didn’t allow the easiest way, but it is the way we can learn the most. “How things are made” and “curiosity” are my inspirational tools to translate feelings into a product. For the design of eyewear, mirrors, accessories … or whatever product… I see no differences. Today I am 43 years old and followed the eyewear design ever since I started in the office at the age of 21. Eyewear design was never far away and it convinced me to translate my creativity in my own collection Cabrio and together with my father’s help, as well as that of other companies, to develop their own style..

Patrick, your debut as an optician and, successively, as co-founder of the Theo company with Wim Somers is well-known. In 2005, however, you created your own collection Hoet Eyewear and, in 2013, you realized the Hoet Couture in 3D printing. An extraordinary folly! What has happened since then?.

Before continuing I think it is important to stress that Bieke is not a “follower” of her father. She has her own style and I’m proud of her. As a matter of fact I did my best NOT to influence her esthetically. I only gave her some technical and strategical advice. ☺ I am getting closer to retirement and I work harder than before. New collaborations are exciting and up scaling the workload. On top of this, circumstances have led me to the situation where also my input and follow up for Theo increased in 2016. As a result, I am busier now than a year ago. Mind you; I am still enjoying working. After all, can one say “work” if one is doing what he likes to do? I am discussing new models at Theo now with the Somers sons. Wim stepped down and made place for his sons. I kind of miss the quarrels we often had. ☺

Bieke, what is so special, regarding design possibilities, about 3D printing?

In my research on technologies I noticed 3D printing more than 5 years ago in dental application. The freedom of design, ecological aspects, customization and potential new business proposals inspired us. This was definitely going to be a new step for eyewear design. My father being the first to introduce laser-cut and chemical etched frames in his designs for Theo was convinced to be pioneer as well in the 3D printing of titanium frames. The design office itself made itself ready for the next Digital revolution and invested in CAD software, training for collaborators and new partnerships for digital manufacturing.

You are conducting some important collaborations with different companies, tell us something about them.?

My father was one of the co-founders of Theo ( anagram of Hoet ) and is today still responsible for a big amount of the designs that are commercialized in 50 countries and 1.400 shops. The typical Theo style and looks are recognizable and famous. They target a specific extravert public for which the designs are created. Every year more than 50 designs leave our design office to serve every Theo Fan a new design. Our expertise in 3D printing technology and materials has led SEIKO to our design office to create the first 3D printed customizable sports frame XChanger. Of course as motivated as we are, a new project like this has our attention and full devotion to make it successful in its specific kind. It was also a first step in the direction where lens and frame become one. Two years ago we contacted HOYA. Together with our partner for production MATERIALISE, this has led to a new business proposal for the optical business: YUNIKU. By means of scanning, a digital file is made of the customer, the lens is positioned in a way to realize the best visual performance and the frame parameters are brought to e customer’s personal parameters to realize a perfect fit. Our collaboration in this project has been intense from the start and has led additionally to the creation of a basic collection in 3D printed polyamide, using all advantages that this technology has to offer.

See the LYF hard copy for the full interview.