Handmade boxes with a unique design history
Using time-honoured genuine craftsmanship, August Sandgren creates boxes handmade of the finest natural materials. The exquisite boxes meet today’s demand for storage - every little pile of clutter in your house or office now has a beautiful place to call home.
The company was originally founded in 1920 by the legendary bookbinder and box maker, August Sandgren, who was to his craft what Kaare Klint, Arne Jacobsen and Hans J. Wegner were to Danish design furniture: a true icon. Today, the company continues to follow Sandgren’s path and the tradition of timeless design and high-quality craftsmanship – all while contributing to new innovations to the canon of Danish design.
It is rare that someone who died so young would leave such a mark on the world. August Sandgren (1893-1934) spent his 41 years wisely and filled them with an astonishing curiosity, appetite, ability and accomplishment. He was always learning and trying new things, exhibiting a mindset that was way ahead of his time.
August Sandgren was the preeminent bookbinder and box-maker of his era. He was renowned for the quality, timeless look and functionality of his work, which can be found today in Designmuseum Denmark and amongst the treasures of The Royal Library. At Designmuseum Denmark, he is recognised, along with furniture designers Kaare Klint, Arne Jacobsen and Hans J. Wegner, as one of the founders of Danish functionalism. To this day, his name is highly revered in box-making and bookbinding societies, and his works, now nearly 100 years old, are sought-after at auction's across Scandinavia. His constant focus on quality, commitment to using only the best materials, and careful attention to every detail made his products last more than a lifetime.
Sandgren perfected much of his artistry over a seven-year period in which he traveled throughout Europe, testing new ways of working and experimenting with other artisans. The results were astonishing. For example, he collaborated with the ceramicist Axel Salto to develop Salsan paper, a beautiful paper with geometric designs that adorned many of Sandgren’s bound books. He also collaborated with Danish design icons, Kay Bojesen and Jais Nielsen.
August Sandgren’s vision was clear: “The book bindings are set to be beautiful and elegant, bound in the finest materials, while still being highly useful.” Just imagine the innovation he could have gifted all of us, if only had he been given more time.
The way we work
Our products are at the heart of what we do. August Sandgren himself worked through the full product lifecycle, from concept and design through to considerations of how his work would wear over time, taking steps to ensure that its beauty would always remain intact. Still inspired by this way of thinking, all our boxes are made of European natural materials such as wood, aniline leather, and strong woven wool textiles. The color scheme is inspired by minerals from the earth; each detail is a conscious decision. The box is not just a box. With every new material and color combinations, the box transforms into a new and interesting version of itself.
August Sandgren’s innate curiosity, including his desire to each across borders and his eagerness to collaborate, live on today. Our boxes are produced by the fourth generation of a Portuguese family-owned company that deeply understands the value of quality and long-lasting relationships. Fritz Hansen, Tom Dixon, Kvadrat and the outstanding designers Øjvind Slaatto and Margrethe Odgaard are all examples of partners we hold dear to our hearts. When partnerships form, new thoughts and new products emerge, adding the best from two or more worlds. We love working this way.
We also take our social responsibility seriously, whether it be with regard to employees, customers, strategic partners, suppliers or with our broader network. We carefully select who we work with, and everyone is treated like one of our own employees, making for a large family committed to upholding our traditions and values. When we succeed, it is because every single partner has contributed fully, meeting the high expectations, we set for ourselves. In many ways, August Sandgren is not a single company, but a collection of likeminded partners, sharing the same values, attitudes, and goals.
We base everything we do on August Sandgren’s methods and principles of great craftsmanship. Today, we apply his principles to make beautiful, high-quality, functional boxes to house every pile of clutter.
Our world today moves fast. We are always on, always moving, always on the go. While so many of our belongings are now in virtual spaces or in “the cloud,” we all still have physical belongings – phone, keys, cards, papers, pens, jewellery, watches and more – that wind-up in piles across our home or office, creating clutter. But clutter can lead to stress – and decluttering of our physical surroundings is a step towards decluttering our minds. This is why we formed the vision for August Sandgren to offer beautiful, high quality boxes for storage in natural sustainable and tactile materials that last a lifetime – or more. Our boxes remove the clutter, removing stress and adding to the aesthetic of your home or office.
The Bookbox harkens to a by-gone era, one where objects were designed to last a lifetime. Books, specifically Bibles, were beautifully and personally bound by the bookbinder and afterwards placed in a book box, for protection. More than just sacred texts, they were works of art, to be treated with respect and admiration, and the book box was to be of as high quality as the content itself. This history, as born from August Sandgren’s legacy, was the genesis of the Bookbox.
Although today’s Bookbox may not be used for the same purpose that Sandgren’s work was, we create them with the same approach and give them the same respect. It is our hope that each August Sandgren box purchased brings as much meaning to its owner as we have put into the making of it.