Sunday, July 20, 2014

Sunday reading: Coffee Table Mags

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Once I quipped that I was so sick and tired of those Instagram posts against white backgrounds displaying various objects (accessories, magazines, knickknacks, succulents, and the ever-present crema-designed espresso or cappuccino ), and the type of photography that typified such (either long or noontime shadows). My retaliation is based on my distate for a soulless display of objects that do not illustrate any story or at the very least start a conversation. Isn’t that what coffee usually does? 

But then I stumbled upon the Instagram feed of Coffee Table Mags. (You all know I have a weakness for well-designed and well-written magazines – those that I not only look at, but also read from cover to cover.) 

Coffee Table Mags is an online and brick-and-mortar store* run by Thorsten Keller, a freelance designer from Hamburg, Germany. Like me, and I know most of you, he is passionate about coffee, photography (and design), and magazines. He has transformed his frustration of not easily finding the publications he liked and launched the business to promote independent magazines from around the globe.

Above, Kinfolk issue 11: “The Spring 2014 edition of Kinfolk explores the meaning of home, what it looks like, how different people arrange them and the qualities that the best ones share. Whether you live with your best friend, partner, strangers or a lazy hound, your concept of home will change with every coat of paint. It’s what (and who) you fill it with that counts. This special 176-page issue features a 46-page Home Tours section with lots of images from around the world.”

*Public Coffee Roasters, Wexstraße 28, 20355 Hamburg, Germany  


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Some or many of the titles may seem familiar to you, but for me, most have been a revelation. I have only held in my hands a few of them. Apartamento I have seen before but got really interested in when it was featured in Fantastic Man. 
Caffeine is a new magazine championing independent and speciality coffee in the UK and abroad.” The Weekender, unfortunately, is only written in German, while Noble Rot "is an alternative lifestyle magazine centred around wine, food, and music.”


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Thisispaper "came to life online almost two years ago to showcase design of exceptional quality as seen through our purposefully subjective eye. Since its inception its form resembled a moodboard, in that it relied much more heavily on image than on text. 

"With time we began to feel the need not only to tell longer stories, but also to give these stories a tangible form – so that they are physically by our side, waiting to be revisited, rethought and reconnected with anytime. 

"Some content vanishes in the abyss of the Internet but thrives in print. The immediacy of web browsing allows for absorbing inspiring bits and pieces in large quantities but doesn’t necessarily foster careful examination or rereading. In this book we let the designers speak for themselves, asking them questions aimed at the underside of the finished product. Their generous answers unveil the details of how and why they design."


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Courier magazine doesn’t seem to be available anymore on Coffee Table Mag’s shopify section but you can browse it via its online version.


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Alphabet "is a magazine for people who make a home together. The Carton "is an independent quarterly publication about food, culture and the Middle East". Riposte’s second issue "opens with a selection of thought provoking ideas from people who are doing things differently and look for new ways to push things forward across a range of disciplines, while Another Escape’s third outing begins "with a thematic stimulus, a single word, ‘wood’, to initiate an investigation into a selection of related narratives – stories of [their] affinity to the natural world, wood products and the great outdoors."


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Hoot! Hoot!


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Monocle I am very familiar with.


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Since I don’t have my own wooden coffee table, here are three of my own latest-issue magazines taken on a marble countertop beside the house’s coffeemaker. 


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Lastly, Aortica, “a road trip tucked into a magazine, is devoted to portraits and wanderlust, asking questions till the cows come home.” Can’t wait to get my hands on these publications! 
Whoever says print is dead is sorely mistaken. Thanks heaps, Mr. Keller!
Coffee Table Mags also sells Frankie, Cereal, and hello mr.. Hurry while supplies last! 


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