17 September 2008

Accessories - Danish Bicycle Design Classics from Sögreni

Sögreni Bicycle Bell
We wrote a piece in the Bikes We Like category a while back about the bespoke bicycles of Søren Sögreni. I was riding past his shop the other day and popped in for a coffee and a chat. If you write about bicycles and Copenhagenizing and suchlike pandemonium, a visit with Søren is a must.

He's been referred to as the Grandfather of Modern Danish Bicycle Design. With 28 years of experience in his back pocket, it's a fair description. It's hard to figure out where the emphasis is - on Bicycle or on Design.
Sögreni Bicycle Light
Bicycle Light by Søren Sögreni.
Copper/Alloy/Brass: €100.00

Looking at his bikes and accessories you find yourself feeling giddy at the simplicity, the smooth lines, the attention to detail. The very essence of Danish design can be summed up like this: simplicity, functionality, informal elegance and a respect for materials and resources. The design products of Sögreni fit this description to a T. There is little surprise that his designs are often copied by other bike brands. They are, however, never matched. There is too much thought gone into them. Each object has been on a long, creative journey from idea to final product. Not everyone possesses this dedication so it's easier to 'borrow'.
Sögreni Bicycle Bell02 Sögreni bell
Brass Bicycle Bell on Handlebars by Søren Sögreni.
Stainless Steel/Zink Finish/Brass/Copper: €30.00

I thought I'd do a piece about his accessories, after having covered the bikes in the earlier piece. Søren comes across as passionate and welcoming but with a gruff edge. It is clear that he loves the creative design aspect of his work. He is constantly playing around with designs and prototypes and new ideas. His bike shop is dimly lit and messy in an eccentric mad scientist sort of way - except for the fact that the bikes on sale in the shop are design icons with hefty pricetags.
Sögreni Bicycle Rack
Bicycle Rack by Søren Sögreni.
Brass & Alloy: €180.00

We bang on about how the bicycle is demystified in Copenhagen. How the average Copenhagener has little regard for 'gear'. It's all true, of course, but we do have a long history of design excellence and this passion for design is a part of most of us over here.
Sögreni Bicycle Rack02
Bicycle Rack Strap by Søren Sögreni.
So that's why the simple, gorgeous accessories that Sögreni produces are an exception to the 'no gear' rule. They are design pieces - 'objets d'art' - and for that reason they are worth saving up for.
Sögreni Bicycle Chain Guard
Bicycle Chain Guard by Søren Sögreni.
Alloy: €52.50. Brass: €60.00.

And if you look at these accessories through 'bicycle gear glasses', they may not make sense. Looking at them as aesthetic additions to the bicycle, however, they fall into place in the grand scheme of things. Let's demystify the bicycle, but let's keep on making it gorgeous. Nothing wrong with that.
Sögreni Bicycle Pedal
Bicycle Pedal in Brass by Søren Sögreni.
Brass: €79.00. Copper: €79.00. Aluminium: €66.00

Sögreni Bicycle Trouser Clip
Trouser Clip by Søren Sögreni.

Sögreni Bicycle Brass
Back end of a Bicycle by Søren Sögreni.
Brass fenders: €144.00

If you're ever in Copenhagen, pop into the shop for a sensory experience. There's a shop in Malmø, Sweden as well. Sögreni's website is in English and if you live in the States, the good people at The Dutch Bicycle Company distributes Sögreni and other fine Danish bicycle products.


mpetry912 said...

Cool, unusual, very innovative. Elevates the common accessory to the level of functional art. Thanks for sharing

melancholic optimist said...

I'm really curious how that bell works... is there just a lever underneath that you flick and it strikes the bell?

Functional items with artistic design are always wonderful - I think way too many people underestimate the effect that aesthetic has... that is, when you have and use things that are aesthetically pleasing, as well as functional, it enhances the feeling of using them so much.

Robert P, dublin said...

I got a copper bell (to match my faded handlebars!) in the shop back in July and I'm in love. Since mounting it, I've even been stopped by a few people - including snooty bike shop staff and other cyclists on the road - who were intrigued by it. Accessories as conversation pieces, where function and form are valued equally- a perfect balance.

m.o.- there's a little bolt mounted on a spring under the disc. It's almost flush with the edge of the disc, but protrudes just enough so you can flick it. Takes a little bit of practice, but it's a skill worth acquiring. I have mine mounted horizontally rather than vertically (as in the top photo).

Nick said...

Beautiful, but a tad expensive - and besides, none of it would look right on my utilitarian, plebian Dutch donkey. Wonderful to see though.

Zakkaliciousness said...

thanks for the comments!

David Devereux said...

Any idea how bright the lights are? I really rather fancy a set, but only if they're bright enough to be practical.