August Sandgren is a Danish design company specialising in handmade leather boxes that help you bring order to your personal belongings that do not fit “the cloud”. Our boxes are decorative and useful at home and in your office – e.g., in your hall for credit cards, coins, keys and receipts, at your desk for pens, pencils, clips and paper or at your bedside table for books, glasses, rings, cufflinks.
The company was originally founded in 1920 by the legendary bookbinder and box maker, August Sandgren. Sandgren was to box making and bookbinding, what Arne Jacobsen, Hans J. Wegner, Mogens Koch, Kaare Klint etc. were to Danish design furniture. Today the company continues Sandgren’s tradition of high-quality and timeless craftsmanship as well as developing new innovative Danish design.
Heritage – The legacy of August Sandgren
August Sandgren (1893-1934) was a pioneer in the field of box making and bookbinding and one of the founders of the functionalist and Danish Design movement. His work, renowned for its classic, pure look and practical qualities can be found in Designmuseum Danmark and is also among the treasures in The Royal Library. To this day he remains a household name in box making and bookbinding societies and his works, now nearly 100 years old, are popular items at auction houses.
August Sandgren was a great collaborator and enjoyed working together with other designers and applied artists. This resulted in many paintings, prints and papers, created with people like Jais Nielsen, Kay Bojesen and Axel Salto, among others. He had a special sense of synergy bringing materials and people together to create a whole that was greater than the sum of its parts. During his short life, August Sandgren spent seven years travelling Europe, where he worked and studied to find new inspiration and improve his skills as a designer and craftsman. In his search for the highest quality materials, he sought out the best European suppliers of the finest leather and paper as well as stamps to personalize his work. After his death at just 41 from an incurable illness, the Sandgren Society was established by some of his mentees as a forum to meet people from their own or related professions and to share ideas and inspiration.
Today, with the August Sandgren company, we continue to honour his legacy by following the principles of his work and creating functional, aesthetic and timeless design pieces. Under the leadership of two Danes, Pia Kirkeskov Andersen and Vibeke Snedgaard Rafaelsen, with a passion for and long history in Danish Design, his ideas continue to live on and flourish.
High Touch – Nothing but the best
Our unique products are a modern take on Danish functionalism and Sandgren’s box making and bookbinding principles.
The design of each product is pure, functional, aesthetic, timeless and expresses warmth. When it comes to materials, we continue to work in the traditional aniline leather and we use strong, woven textiles for the sake of durability.
Every item is handmade by craftsmen, who understand the aesthetics of Danish Design as well as the importance of quality. The high-quality aniline leather and woven textiles are carefully placed around the surface and corners of the products, sliding almost invisibly into the lining on the inside. And just like when Sandgren was running his business, all materials are handpicked from the best European suppliers and crafted in Europe.
Staying in line with August Sandgren’s innovative spirit, we are focused on being as inventive as our products allow. We always strive to hit the right balance between classic and modern, and to stay relevant and functional. As a result, we constantly seek to best integrate innovation and a user-friendly experience into our business model.
In order to continuously challenge ourselves in this area, we work with expert partners and leading educational institutes on design, IT and design elements e.g. “The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts” and “Technical University of Denmark”.
Humans – Designed for people and the planet
Just like Sandgren, who travelled for years to meet new people and find inspiration, we too are eager to find the best solutions for both people and planet. This starts by being sustainable in every possible way. All our leather is tanned in Europe and we only use textiles that comply with the strict criteria of “The Flower” – the EU ecolabel that identifies products that have a reduced environmental impact throughout their life cycle. We are working to meet the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of UN, focusing especially on no. 8, 9 and 12 regarding decent work, economic growth, industry, innovation and infrastructure as well as responsible consumption and production.
Our suppliers are close partners, in order for us together to ensure high quality in both design and service. In our partnerships, we seek out companies that have the same sustainable philosophy as us. This also includes being socially responsible, when it comes to employees, customers, strategic partners, suppliers and networks. In our operations, we adapt to the people we work with – all are treated differently in order to be treated fairly. In many ways August Sandgren is not one company. It is a collection of partners, with the same mind-set and goals.
All together the above three H’s (Heritage, High Touch and Humans) outline the framework for our values and core principles, which truly define how our company operates and thrives.