Designed to Win: Oakley Technology Showcased at London Design Museum, Celebrated As Revolutionary Design For Sport Through History


More than 600 patents in technology and design. Countless man hours in research, development and engineering. Absolute science wrapped in art.

A Formula 1 racecar? Maybe a revolutionary performance bicycle? Think again.

To the average consumer, it’s not completely apparent – at first – that when glancing upon a pair of Oakley eyewear, they’re looking at a true technological innovation.

And when visiting Oakley’s stunning Safehouse for its 700+ athletes competing in the Summer Games, just one floor below in the London Design Museum’s basement, it would surprise even more people to find Oakley’s creations displayed alongside some of the most revolutionary creations for sports performance throughout history.

As a part of the museum’s “Designed to Win” exhibit, which explores ways in which design has shaped the sporting world (coinciding with London’s biggest year of sport), Oakley’s sparsely-acknowledged contributions are stunningly revealed.

“When you come in here and look at all the different uniforms and kits that the athletes use, you also get a really good sense of how much application we have for our product in sport,” said Ryan Calilung, Design Engineer at Oakley.

From the revolutionary Oakley Eyeshade, which was the first-ever piece of legitimate protective eyewear designed for athletes in 1984 (athletes up to that point used glass, putting their eyes at risk during a crash or fall); the Oakley Airbrake Goggle (revolutionary Switchlock Technology™); the evolution of bikes as used by Oakley athletes in history (from Mountain Biking to Cycling); Oakley technical outerwear for snowboarders/skiers; to the newly debuted Oakley Radarlock Path eyewear (also Switchlock Technology™), the extreme development of materials, processes and technologies by O engineers over time, is in glorious display.

Alongside true marvels like the Audi R18 E-tron Quattro (Formula 1), the Lotus Type 108 Olympic Pursuit Bike (created in 1992) and much more, visitors’ eyes are opened, literally, to the amount of dedication, sacrifice and drive that Oakley engineers/designers have dedicated to ensure the optimal performance of our team athletes through their equipment.

It’s then that one may truly appreciate the extreme thought placed behind each and every product and creation.

From the patented Unobtanium® materials created in 1975 for Oakley’s first-ever gear piece, the Oakley BMX/Motocross Grip – now used in O performance eyewear and gear (only rubber-like substance to increase grip when in contact with sweat); patented Plutonite® lens materials, providing unrivaled impact protection and blocking of all ultraviolet/blue light rays inherently (even without tint); OMatter® frame construction material and patented three-point construction (flexibility, durability, impact absorption, optical alignment); and other technologies used in every piece of eyewear that literally can’t be imitated or reproduced, so much has gone into Oakley’s creations for the benefit of our athletes…So much more, in the most intense sense, than can be realized just by looking by a beautiful, stylish piece of eyewear.

But for those lucky enough to experience the Oakley Safehouse and the glorious London Design Museum below during the Games, it will become a known fact…a resounding fact…that some of the best athletes on this Planet trust Oakley for their protection and their performance for one reason: pure science beyond reason.

Video Tour:


Andrew De Lara


July 28, 2012