The UK flat track scene has attracted interesting people from a broad range of backgrounds and occupations for a long time. There are the tradesmen you'd perhaps expect of a grassroots, grubby bike sport, but the numbers are bolstered by a fashion designer, pilots (numerous), artists, tattooists, set designers, a doctor, photographers (numerous) and the owner/founder of an internationally renowned design consultancy. The latter is Adam Brinkworth - who races in both vintage and hooligan, and is a huge supporter of the UK scene, while never shouting about it, and a brilliant bloke to spend time around.
We featured Adam, his BSA and his El Camino hauler in SB33, he was part of the UK expedition to Japan in SB36 and his daughter, Marnie, was featured with her road legal grasstrack bike in SB27. The way this relates is because, in the greater Venn diagram of Sideburn world, the Brinkworth design consultancy's work intersects with us and another acquaintance of ours, Reino, the boss of rock n roll jewellers, The Great Frog.
The Great Frog, famous for its skull rings , first opened in 1972 and is now run by the son of the founder, Reino, under whom the company has gone from strength-to-strength in inimitable style. Reino commissioned Brinkworth to design a new London shop for them. This is what the design company say about the new shop...
'Brinkworth wanted to celebrate the richness of the dark, neo-gothic aesthetic of the original The Great Frog Soho store without reproducing its more ‘traditional’ elements. The team began by creating a material palette that could elevate the brand. Elements such as the polished, black concrete render and stack bonded Ketley tiles have been used as architectural finishes to create a subversive backdrop for the characterful, vintage furniture pieces, some from Damien Hirst’s personal collection. Cast nosings to the stair have been employed as a reference to the process of hand-made jewellery fabrication that takes place in the store’s basement. A simple, black steel balustrade on the ground floor and stair is contrasted with a polished, stainless steel ‘sissy bar’ handrail. This detail is used throughout the store, reflecting the brand’s ties to custom motorcycle culture. To honour The Great Frog’s vibrant history, the flooring from the original Soho store, hand laid by the brand’s founder and Reino’s father, is used as cladding to the rear of the space.'
The Brinkworth release continues...
'A bespoke café/bar, with a custom pewter bar top, will offer hospitality for events in partnership with Hackney-based Dark Arts Coffee. While the bar and furniture line the perimeters of the retail space, the centre is left clear for the hero of the space – a 1987 Buick Grand National. Taking inspiration from the cult film Repo Man*, the boot of the car opens up to uncover the brand’s most exclusive pieces. The display comes complete with faux fur lining, dramatic illumination and smoke, revealing the ultimate trunk club.'
*Coincidentally, we had the director of Repo Man, Alex Cox, write about Mad Max for SB17 and about Rollerball for SB6
Find The Great Frog's new East London store at 1-4 Holywell Lane, EC2A 3ET
Photos: Louise Melchior
Sissy bar style bannister
With a dash of Death Spray Custom too, who made a collaboration ring with The Great Frog - TGF x DSC