ØRGREEN Quantum Collection
Danish Eyewear Brand Envisions the Future
At Danish eyewear brand ORGREEN, the design team is not asking what the future of eyewear design is going to look like – they’re inventing it, one prototype at a time. The latest innovation will arrive in Fall 2017: The Quantum Collection – or “Q” in short – will launch at SILMO tradeshow in October with an initial offering of 20 to 24 models featuring radical innovations. “This collection is different from what we have done so far. It’s a new look, and a departure from designing only in titanium with a new material combined with beta titanium temples. The DNA is, as always, all about the quality and finish. But these are very technical frames,” said Henrik Ørgreen.
The timing for launching a technology-driven collection is ideal. ORGREEN is at the cusp of its 20th brand anniversary and ready to innovate their way forward. “In this period of our company history we like cleanness, which is also a large part of Danish architecture and eyewear design,” said Henrik Ørgreen, while putting the quintessentially Danish approach into perspective. “The main difference between Danish and Japanese design is that in Japan, you come up with 20 great ideas and they all go into one product. In Denmark, we also come up with 20 great ideas – but only one makes it into the product!”
In the Quantum Collection, that single great idea is the hinge of the frame; or better yet, the entire principle of connecting the front of the frame to the temples. ORGREEN co-founder Tobias Wandrup came up with the basic technical concept a few years ago. The goal was to create a fundamentally simple design that solves the problem of attaching the individual components of the frame without resorting to screws, wires, magnets, glues, and the like, while also keeping the number of individual parts at an absolute minimum. “We wanted to do it simple. But then again, simple is always harder,” said Henrik Ørgreen.
As a solution, the team decided that the temples of the frames should do all the work in the Quantum Collection. The unique design consists of two components: The front end of the titanium temples includes an asymmetrical ball that fits right into the second part, a polyamide front with a channel on each side, precisely built to encompass the ball tip ever so snuggly. Once the ball is secured into the 8-10mm deep channel, a third element snaps everything tightly into a place: A so-called puzzle piece locks in the connection between temples and front end. “The puzzle piece is what brings the temple into position. It fits in a way that you cannot even see it from the outside.”
Disclaimer: Not a Gimmick
Make no mistake – although the hinge snaps into place during assembly without the use of screws and bolts, it should only be opened by trained opticians. “Once the puzzle piece clicks into place, it’s supposed to stay locked because it also holds the lens in place,” said Henrik Ørgreen, emphasizing that the Quantum Collection is not one of those fun “change your temple colors” kind of concepts.
Asked about the inspiration for the name, Henrik Ørgreen offered: “We chose ‘quantum’ because the principle is all about using the minimal amount of space. So Quantum represents minimal space. And also the clean Danish design tradition.” How about the collection’s target group? “This one is appealing to a younger audience, in terms of styles and colors,” said Henrik Ørgreen, “but the quality is in the same high level that we are known for.”
Models and Styles
ORGREEN likes to have fun when it comes to putting a name to a frame, but this collection will take a more technical route to fit the overall aesthetic. “The models will have physics-inspired names such as ‘Q1’ and ‘Q2’,” said Henrik Ørgreen while admitting that the names – at the time of this writing – are “still under development, but we will surely add some fun and sex appeal to the names.” The shapes in the Quantum Collection also present a bit of a break from the norm: “In titanium, it is more natural for models to have a square shape. But since we are working with a new material here, get ready for more round shapes, soft shapes, and more panto shapes.”
Speaking of “new material,” the Quantum Collection marks a leap into unfamiliar territory for ORGREEN. “Over the last fourteen years or so, we have really been specialized in working with titanium in all kinds of variations and techniques. We really fell in love with it, but that also meant that the collections around different materials such as wood or acetate were left behind a little bit.” This will change, as the front of the Quantum Collection frames are produced from a high-end member of the nylon family: polyamide. “Compared to acetate, polyamide offers several advantages. It’s very flexible, very light and strong, and it can be crafted very precisely.”
While the polyamide front is paired with two titanium hinges and nose pads crafted from silicone, the innovative aspect behind the new material can hardly be overstated. “Polyamide is a step into the future. We have known and worked with polyamide for many years in building prototypes. But it took until now to ensure the finish and quality are high enough for Orgreen to start using it in a collection. It leads the way on how to use tech materials in a nice way,” said Henrik.
Despite all the innovation, one thing will stay the same: ORGREEN has never been one for big logos, “and nobody buys our frames because they think our logo is cool.” Instead, the technology will be visible – the connection between ball-tip and frame front exposed – and act as a form of recognizable branding. “You can see the titanium ball and the technique. So it’s visible technology, not visible branding.”
The Full Package
Rounding out the “quantum” leap into the future, ORGREEN also reengineered their packaging for the collection. All pairs will ship in hard boxes in dark grey with a soft rubber finish, plus a neoprene sock on the inside in what Ørgreen calls “1970s roundness meets with the iPhone.” What’s more, the team in Copenhagen is already planning the next step, as 2018’s expansion of the Quantum Collection will introduce sunglasses with the new hinge concept as well as materializations such as acetate. “We have grown up and changed a bit over the past 20 years,” said Henrik Ørgreen, hinting at the brand’s roots as action sports-inspired rule breakers. “When you look at an ORGREEN frame now, it’s really not that crazy.”
More info: www.orgreenoptics.com