January 25, 2021
Sahra Lysell, Colour Designer, Orgreen Optics
Copenhagen-based eyewear firm Ørgreen has been putting colour at the forefront of its design philosophy since 1997. The creative mastermind behind the brand’s unique colour combinations, Sahra Lysell, reveals her sources of inspiration and shares an exclusive insight into what we can expect from the label in 2021.
Q: With more than 400 hues in its portfolio, Ørgreen has created frames in every colour of the rainbow. How would you define the brand’s colour universe?
A: A short description of our colour universe would be rich and full of contrast. Our colour philosophy is built on using at least two colours that balance each other out. We believe that when you combine two different colours, a third world appears. We also like to create our two-tone colour stories by mixing different materials. If you mix polyamide with titanium, for example, you will also see a unique colour contrast. I humbly believe that we understand the power of using colour and when to use it. The colours we use in each design are part of our storytelling and a reflection of society.
Q: What are the origins of the brand’s innovative approach to colour and how has it evolved throughout the years?
A: I’m very fortunate to be working in a company that has prioritised colours since the beginning. We believe that colour is a super-strong tool to achieve a result on a higher level. When we started out, our wish was to find an approach to incorporate strong colours into men’s frames in a way they could feel comfortable. Our colour universe was instilled on that, but now we are so much more. The last two decades in the business have been a learning experience for us. We have evolved with trends and society and now have a totally different know-how to combine colour hues and tones in the perfect way.
\\ Columbia 1056 and 1069 by Orgreen Optics
Q: As the company’s very own colourist, you have been an indispensable part of the design team for over 20 years. What is a typical workday for you?
A: The basis of my job is to put the icing on the cake and take our designs to the next level. One of my most important tasks every day is to solve the colour mysteries we have going on and make sure our designs cater to different personalities. However, a typical workday for me is actually not very typical. If every day wasn’t different, it would be difficult to create and come up with new ideas. If we did things the same way each time, in a certain way we would also end up with the same result. The design team and I work very closely together and love to go on walks outside the office to see and feel the real world. We like to keep it that way to perform, otherwise, the process becomes less creative and true.
Q: Ørgreen has grown into an international company with retailers in more than 50 countries worldwide. How does your eyewear stand apart and keep the company on the leading edge?
A: I believe we understand and respect the concept of balance to achieve aesthetic results. My intention when creating colour collections is to find colours that suit the customer's personality, instead of taking over it. It's quite easy to create something that stands out and suits 1 person out of 10, but it takes a few more skills to create something that will suit 9 people out of 10. The use of hues and tones is decisive for what works on the face. It’s different to put a strong pink on a cocktail dress than on eyewear, as frames are something you wear daily. Understanding this when using colour is a big step to be successful in our industry.
Q: Where do you draw inspiration from when creating your colour combinations?
A: My personal sense and gut feeling play a big role. It’s difficult not to put your signature on your creations. I prefer not to be aware of the eyewear business so much, to be honest. I feel more comfortable picking up inspiration elsewhere, such as in society, fashion, architecture, art or interior design. Makeup has always been a strong tool for me because, by using colour, it can enhance or play down face features —precisely like eyewear does. For example, a light-coloured frame will make you look a bit younger. To keep going after so many years, it’s important to find new sources of inspiration but I also like to stay true to what’s worked for me in the past and this is something I always go back to.
\\ Hemisphere 1130
Q: What can we expect from the new 3D printing collection, Quantum High?
A: Our upcoming 3D printing line, Quantum High, is the new, evolved and next-level design of our existing Quantum collection. The ultra-light material used on the front, polyamide, is the solid foundation of the frame while the titanium temples tell our colour story. With polyamide, essential colours work best, while titanium allows more room to play with stronger colours. This line is definitely more masculine but it's also younger and super fashionable at the same time.
Q: What colour stories will we see in the upcoming HAVN line?
A: The HAVN line is based on the principle of combining strong and vibrant colours with plating colours such as gold, white gold or rose gold to create a two-dimensional frame. In this collection, the calming plating colours allow us to move away from essential colours and focus on more powerful and unusual tones. With HAVN, we are approaching a slightly younger audience, not necessarily by age but by mindset. We believe the design and colour combinations reflect this.
Q: In your opinion, which colour trends should we watch out for in 2021? To what extent will we see these integrated into the forthcoming designs?
A: I think it will be a mix. There will be warm, natural and calm tones to get a sense of grounding. I think people would like to connect back with nature, the simple things and create a feeling of stability and potential. Warm tones that we feel comfortable with and that don’t have a strong approach on your face will be quite prominent next year, but also happy colours, such as soft pastels and vibrant hues. These trends played a big role in setting the mood and mindset for our 2021 colour collections. People will have many different opinions about upcoming trends, but this is where you will see us.
Q: In just over two decades since its launch, Ørgreen has grown to become a key player in the eyewear field. What is the brand’s vision for the next 5 years?
A: Speaking from the creative department, we always want to evolve. We want to be better where we need to be better, but we also don't want to change just for the sake of it. We will make small tweaks where needed, but we will always maintain our brand identity. Of course, we have the ambition to conquer more, but we want to continue to create frames that work for our existing clients, the ones who helped us build the business that we have today. In the next five years, we will keep looking out for new materials and ways of doing things, and we will open up new projects because that's what keeps us alive as creatives. We will refine our existing lines and continue to create eyewear that makes people happy. We don't necessarily want to be the biggest company in the world but we definitely want to be the best at what we do.
\\ Acetate styles by Ørgreen Optics