One of the good things I’ve found about moving is it allows you get a little bit organised with all the ‘stuff’ in your home – declutter, reflect and start afresh. We’ve been packing boxes and the place is an absolute tip, but it meant that I could throw away all the piles of papers and rubbish in my home office; pens which weren’t haven’t worked for years, magazines I’ve never read and keep the things I really want. I’ve still had to work in all this chaos, so when Copenhagen-based Design Letters & Friends approached me to style a summer workspace, I knew it was the perfect breath of fresh air I needed to still keep a bit of sanity and beauty around the place!
Founded in 2009 by former journalist Mette Thomsen, Design Letters & Friends is well known for its bold, minimal collection of objects, many based around typography hand drawn in 1937 by the famous Danish architect Arne Jacobsen.
Having studied architecture, I’m a huge fan of the modernist Jacobsen – he’s up there with my ultimate faves along with Alvar Aalto. For St Catherine’s College in Oxford he designed a total concept, everything from the modular building to the cutlery and his famous chairs, while a pilgrimage to the dramatic stairwell for his Danish National Bank in Copenhagen was a real wow moment for me.
With an eye for detail, Jacobsen created the clean type face seen here for the Aarhus town hall in Denmark, designed with Erik Møller and completed in 1941. The building features copper and Norwegian marble details on the facade and an impressive sweeping circular staircase in its centre. The parquet flooring is pretty special too. From his architecture to his furniture, and now accessories, Jacobsen’s popularity certainly shows no signs of slowing down – in fact, Design Letters is now represented in more than 800 shops in 40 countries.
And while you may be familiar with the instantly recognisable lettered products, you may be less aware of a more feminine, floral design also by the architect. Design Letters has added a new botanical collection, titled ‘Flowers by Arne Jacobsen’, to its repertoire using an unknown pattern painted by Jacobsen in the 1940s while in exile in Sweden during the Second World War.
A keen artist as well as architect, Jacobsen used to use water colours to recreate flowering fields, flowing streams and horses bathing in lakes. This motif here, depicting delicate white anemones, has been reproduced by Design Letters on notebooks as well as bedding and blankets. It brings just the right amount of detail and decoration to my home office, without being too overtly feminine and fussy. The notebooks pick up the light grey of the walls, while allowing the graphic typography to pop out on the shelves.
Now that I’ve decluttered a bit, my summer workspace is clean and bright (you may have seen my office makeover a while back, here) with the light streaming in from the adjacent window. Melamine cups are used for storing pens and pencils, or doubling up as a personalised pen pot, while the boxes they came in make equally beautiful black and white displays (they’ll also be useful for organising bits and bobs like elastic bands and colouring pencils).
I’ve added soft touches of green to bring the outside sunshine in, with a String of Hearts plant that dangles off the white shelf and a couple of hardy succulents.
My favourite addition is this ‘To Do’ weekly planner, which I really, really need in my life! If you could see the state of my diary (I use an old fashion one, oh yes, no phone diary for me…) and all the scribbles and crossings out, you’ll understand how disorganised I can sometimes be. Now I can plan each day, both for work and for the blog, schedule posts and meetings, and rip up each sheet and start again for each fresh new week.
We’re moving next week (eek, so excited!) so this is one of the last blog posts featuring our little King’s Cross flat! I’ll miss this light, bright workspace but I’m sure I will be able to create an equally lovely corner in the new house, especially now I’m all organised with the help of Design Letters & Friends’ stationery. Even if there’s lots of work and decorating to do (which I can’t wait to show you and blog about), at least I’ll have some nice new pieces ready and waiting to come out of the boxes and make it feel a little like home.
The products I styled here are as follows: water bottle (available A-Z), personal notebook (A-Z), Flowers notebook (small and large), To Do This Week planner, melamine cups (A-Z), pencil set of 5 and melamine bowl (the prices on their website are in Danish krone).
This post was written in collaboration with Design Letters, all opinions and images are my own