While poking around Barnes & Noble and the Strand bookstore outpost at Club Monaco on 5th Avenue in New York City, I noticed several new and very interesting magazines. The initial attraction is a fabulous cover with amazing photography and unusual fonts; next is the thick mixed paper stock (matte, shiny and colors) and finally, the content. Even the ads take on an artistic and creative simplicity. The content is similar in all: art and architecture, travel, style and fashion. Here is my short list:
Kinfolk: There is a simplicity to the beautiful photography of objects, people, interiors and art. Each image seems bathed in natural light and unadorned by overwrought styling. The interviews and stories are short and to the point. The philosophy of this magazine is to communicate ideas about good design and its relationship to the broader community. It facilitates conversation and encourages the reader to develop a personal narrative to form the foundation for a well-lived life. This is a Copenhagen-generated magazine for young creative professionals.
Surface: Both an online and print magazine, Surface is a New York-based publication. I love their comprehensive arts calendar, and even their culture club social pages are cool. What’s not to love about Jenny Holzer? We, of her generation, remember the thorny and political issues that were the catalysts for her art. Her text-driven art pieces are often hidden behind bold color blocks. Each thematic issue has a quote on the spine from the featured artist. Indeed, Surface introduces its reader to both known and unknown artists, and contributes to the broader knowledge of what is going on beneath the surface in many disciplines.
Cabana: This Italian magazine/book with its bold fabric covers, art-quality paper (both glossy and matte), rich international content and incredible photography is an outstanding publication–very expensive ($500), but worth every penny. Their editor talks about pushing boundaries, mixing details, creating a mood and portfolios with original content. Their goal is to inspire the reader and tell remarkable visual stories. Save your pennies and try to acquire a copy or two.
Galerie: I will mention this magazine, although it’s in a complete transition at the moment. Several well-known editors (Margaret Russell) and publishers (Barbara Friedman) will be part of the new team seeking to create a stylish publication demonstrating the relationship between art and design, fashion, architecture and even food. The premise is to take the reader on a voyage of discovery surrounding interesting things and the creativity in the world. Look for the new volume soon.
hole & corner: I have seen just one issue of this magazine. There is a well-blended mix of black-and-white and color photography, shiny and matte paper and intelligent interviews as they examine the question of what makes something beautiful. The writers and editors seek out experts to facilitate discussions about fashion and design, craft and antiques, searching for the process that dictates form and function.
Cereal: This is a magazine of travel and style published bi-annually in the UK. In issue No. 12 I was excited to see, amongst other things, a section about California. An article on Palm Springs modern houses with their long horizontal lines, floor-to-ceiling windows and desert-appropriate materials including steel and aluminum made clear the difference between Mid-century modernism and Desert Modernism. The houses were defined by the topography, thickets of palms, a kind of desolate geography and endless sunshine that created the unique atmosphere for experimentation. The authors comment that this style prompted a new way to look at shapes and materials. I could not resist an article about the glamorous Chateau Marmont, a place of secrets, orgies and stories. The place is a bit tattered, a mix of high and low. It’s a funny place that welcomes businessmen, elderly but elegant European couples and Hollywood royalty, all hiding out in plain sight. Very engaging and spirited content.
This list is by no means complete. Other magazines to explore are Wallpaper, Cultured and Milk (the French and English versions). Pop into your local bookstores and see what new treasures you find.