August 20 2011
Mark C O’Flaherty
The sight of a wall full of perfectly bound notebooks arranged by colour, next to stacks of paper and envelopes, organised into a spectrum of chic Pantone stationery shades, brings out the obsessive-compulsive in me. I couldn’t possibly make use of everything, but there’s still a part of me that wants it all. Grey, yellow, orange, red, pink, purple, blue and green… At Bookbinders Design in Stockholm, the high-quality writing sets and cloth-covered diaries, binders and photo albums are displayed as if they’re part of an art installation. Everything about the store is thrillingly modernist, from the bookish typography in-store to the bold but refined choice of tones.
Bookbinders Design has its roots in the company founded by Martin Åhnberg in Stockholm in 1965, and it’s now grown internationally, with stores in Paris, Berlin, Oslo, Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Malaysia, South Korea and Chile, but not, curiously, London. You can buy their products online, but for me a great deal of the pleasure is in visiting one of the stores.
On my last visit to the Stockholm flagship, I left with stacks of cloth-covered notebooks (€21-€25). I have yet to write anything in any of them, as part of me feels that they’re too perfect to actually mark, which is of course ridiculous. I’m also particularly fond of their patterned envelopes (from €11 for 10), which come in Florentine-update patterns including Square (second picture), which has a handsome graphic in smart orange and blue reminiscent of stained glass windows, diamonds and flowers.