Words Alessandra Albarello
The Copenhagen-based brand celebrates 25 years of innovation, study of colour and the pursuit of absolute quality. Henrik Ørgreen continues to look far ahead
Did Danish design influence your creativity?
As a Copenhagen brand, Danish design is part of our DNA... The combination of the clean and simple line, that is refined with a minimal detail and yet always mixed with curiosity for the new and the unexplored... When you look at the 'golden age' of Danish design in the 60s, you look not only at Jacobsen, but Kjarholm, PH, Mogensen and many more, who did exactly that. They kept experimenting, they kept developing, they travelled the world to find inspiration, bringing it back home and making their version of new Danish design. We stay true to the heritage of working with new techniques, new materials, new combinations and crafting functional and durable pieces, to challenging those same traditional principals - adding our own chapter to the future of Danish design. Quality and colours are your priorities.
How do you comply with them to achieve the best results?
Quality is an ethos, a cornerstone of our philosophy. In Japan, where the majority of our manufacturing processes take place, they are globally renowned for delivering the highest quality products within the eyewear business. We work with as many as twelve different factories, each with their own area of expertise and employing senior artisans - each of whom is revered as a master, an eyewear 'sensei'. An Ørgreen titanium frame is conveyed by hand through more than a hundred steps before it's ready. This process ensures that materials, quality, and finish are always top-notch, as our basic criteria is striving towards zero defects and continuous quality improvement. The way in which we apply colour to our frames follows the same quality and long-lasting path. Trends have never been a starting point for us. I think we have very high expectations of everything we do and of staying true to who we are, so that the audience understands and trusts our product. That's what's most important to us and that's why it's very easy to understand our colour language over the course of many years. Because we stay true to it. Of course, we renew, we keep developing and refreshing and making it sexy and exciting, however, the original language always remains. I feel that today, in our different collections, you can see very much that the colour is always, and still is, a top priority and one of they key things that defines Ørgreen.
In your company, what is the relationship between artisanal savoir-faire and technology?
The way we developed our Quantum High line, with polyamide fronts and beta-titanium temples, perfectly answers this question. A few years ago, there was a lot of skepticism in the market concerning 3D printing and rightly so, as many retail brands were offering cheap solutions to end consumers. However, opposing this view, we saw instead an opportunity for design freedom, as complex shapes and striking structures that were previously cost-proibitive or physically impossible to produce using traditional techniques, suddenly became possible. Combining this innovative view with our 25 years of expertise, and working closely with our 3D suppliers, we've achieved the high-quality finish and unique Ørgreen colour scheme that characterizes the Quantum High collection. But this jump into the future would have not been possible without our past experience of working closely with Japanese masters who have brought forward techniques that are several hundred years old. So, our wish is to combine both modern techniques and old craftsmanship, as both represent the Ørgreen brand.
What message do you wish to convey through your recent ad campaign?
This year is our 25th anniversary and we're known in the market for our titanium frames. However, a few years ago we reintroduced our Acetate collection followed by both our Quantum High (combo titanium+3D) and HAVN (stainless steel) collections. These collections have now become very important pillars of our business, each adding their own niche audience to the existing community of Ørgreen wearers. And pur campaign just reflects that. We are no longer just a quality titanium brand, but more a 'one-stop brand' for several high-end collections.
How do you imagine your future?
I think that the pandemic has already challenged and transformed us to be ready to adapt to any conditions rather than persisting or waiting. Design and production are getting more complicated. The future is very unstable as we don't know where things are going right now. We see a potential new global order that may have a big impact on the world, and of course on eyewear in general. But we are addressing these challenges and we are preparing, so that no matter what happens, we have tried to prepare for all scenarios...
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