Getting organised with a new notebook 29.07.2017

How do you visualise the annual cycle in your head? I perceive the progress of time as a spiral. The new year begins in August; then it gradually gravitates down to the silence of domestic cosiness of the dark Christmas time. Around February, the loop starts climbing towards the spring. The high summer marks the high peak and a standstill. Consequently for me, these last days of July mark the beginning of a new annual loop soon at hand. This July, I also enjoy having an excellent new notebook to make plans and capture all the bubbling ideas about architecture books to have in our bookshop.

In my opinion, the most noteworthy criteria for a notebook are a handy size, the quality of paper, and a sturdy binding. Although I’ve used a digital calendar and a synchronised Evernote account for years, I always carry around a proper notebook and an old-fashioned pencil case as well. My notes usually consist of a word or two, somebody’s name and email, to-do lists, or a quick diagram. Because my notebook is a paper workhorse that just keeps track of things, I don’t make a fuss of brands. Hence I value a simple notebook that fits into my backpack or purse, is not too fancy and does not bleed through the ink of my pen.

Midori notebooks in our shop soon

This autumn I have chosen a small notebook that comes from Midori. Midori is a well-known Japanese company that uses paper specifically manufactured for handwriting. Another key element is that their notebooks are crafted using traditional bookbinding methods. There is a sense of nostalgia, timelessness and minimalism in the Midori notebooks. They don’t even have covers, just a wrap of a thin paraffin paper. You can read more about their product line and their MD paper on their web pages at www.midori-japan.co.jp/md/en/mdpaper/. Besides the MD paper, they also make notebooks of cotton paper. Just google for reviews if you haven’t tested their cotton notebooks yet.

This July, I chose a B6-sized, gridded MD notebook for my personal use. The grid format is a square 5 mm. The precise metric system is so handy if I need to sketch something in scale or make a quick measurement of something. I’m currently learning how to make traditional Japanese sashiko embroidery, so I may even indulge in a sewing project for a hand-embroidered notebook covers. How cool is that!

Our shop just received a small shipment of these fantastic notebooks, and I’ll put them online as soon as possible. We’ll have a small batch of notebooks from both the MD and cotton paper line in various sizes, both gridded and blank. I’ll announce on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter the minute they are available, and I look forward to receiving your user experiences.

Midori MD notebooks

Autumn plans with architecture books

Of course, the coming autumn will not be only about note-taking or notebooks. Our book selection will soon include a new architecture book by Dr Charlotte Ashby: Modernism in Scandinavia: Art, Architecture and Design (Bloomsbury Academic, 2017). I met Charlotte at the CAA annual conference in New York last February and learnt a lot from her paper about the city halls of Copenhagen, Stockholm, and Oslo. I’ll write more about the book and Charlotte’s research when the copies arrive in Helsinki. In the meanwhile, you can read more about the book, for instance, on this blog post on the History of Art at Birkbeck University of London blog.

Another thing which I’d like to mention already now is that our architecture bookshop has been selected to participate in the Helsinki Design Week Print Market event. The Helsinki Design Week is an established annual design festival with an ample programme about design and architecture. Print Market takes place during the weekend of 9–10 September at Kaapelitehdas; I’ll announce more details as soon as I know more about the practicalities.  I’ll take along a lot of our architecture books for you to glance and of course our pens and the new notebooks for you to try out. There are several notes about display ideas for our pop-up shop in my new notebook already.