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Treadlie Street - Trent Jansen

20th June, 2012
Jenny Butler
Wednesday 20th June 2012

We're halfway through our week with Treadlie Mag - thanks again to Treadlie's managing editor Tamsin O'Neill who has put together such a wonderful series!  Did you know that Tamsin and partner Tom Bodycomb also created Green Press, a sustainable print and multimedia business that not only publishes Treadlie but Green Magazine too?  Not one but TWO fantastic independent Aussie magazines - love your work guys! - Jenny x

TDF and Treadlie favourite, Trent Jansen! Photo by Amy Luschwitz

We’ve been following the work of Sydney designer Trent Jansen in both Green and Treadlie over the years. His Sign Stools have become iconic, and of course we love his Cycle Signs – bike reflectors made up from the leftovers after making his Sign Stools.


Trent Jansen.


White organic cotton tea shirt, blue pants from an op-shop in Pontedera, Italy and Ian Harold boots from Melbourne.

Your bike?

Tokyo bike with Ortlieb panniers and my Cycle Signs.

Why ride?

There are so many reasons... I feel very free when I am riding, with the ability to go anywhere, not having to rely on complex infrastructure to get me there. Then there are the health benefits. I don't have a great deal of time to exercise, so combining exercise and transport into the one activity seems to make sense.

While riding I...?

Feel completely exposed to everything that the world has to offer. Whether it is a friendly nod from a fellow cyclist, an abusive gesture from an aggressive driver, or the drop of temperature that you feel when you ride into a rain forest. When driving a car I feel shielded from these elements, less a part of the world.

Trent Jansen's Cycle Signs - Photos by Alex Kershaw.

Cycle Signs?

In my studio we have been producing a furniture piece called the Sign Stool 450 for a while now. This small stool is constructed from re-used road signs in order to reduce the burden placed on our natural resources.

In the construction of this furniture some of the road sign material is wasted. Cycle Sign was developed to make use of this waste material and to take advantage of the reflective nature of these road signs. The re-used road signs used to construct Cycle Signs come complete with all the characteristics of their previous use, including reflective vinyl labels and the odd evidence of their life by the roadside. This not only provides character but tells the life story of this road sign, serving its public duty on the freeway.

Cycle Signs are available in two versions, a Spoke Clamp and a Strap. The spoke clamp is designed to be easily installed around the spokes in a bicycle wheel, while the strap version is designed to simply wrap around the seat post or front tube of a bicycle. In keeping with the reused nature of this project, the strap is cut from old bicycle tubes, making the felt padding the only new material used in the manufacture of these reflectors.

Cycle Signs are available in bike shops all over the country and we now have retailers in North America, Singapore and Japan, not to mention online.

Trent Jansen's Cycle Signs - Photo by Alex Kershaw.

The Sign Stool 450, the waste material of these are used to make Cycle Signs. Photo by Alex Kershaw.

Other Plans?

There is some talk of expanding the Cycle Sign range, and I do have some thoughts for other useful bike related objects... At the moment I am flat out with other projects, but who knows.

- Treadlie

The Design Files acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers, and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files. Please email