Douglas Coupland is a Canadian novelist, visual artist and designer. His first novel in 1991 was Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture. He has published thirteen novels, a collection of short stories, seven nonfiction books, and a number of dramatic works and screenplays for film and television. Coupland’s novels and visual work synthesize high and low culture, web technology, religion, and changes in human existence caused by modern technologies.
The collection takes its inspiration from the “writer’s nook” and consists of a desk, chair, lamp, bookshelves.
The desk I write on every day is an escritoire — which is a sightly old fashioned furniture category, but a good one.
Escritoires are elegant: with one flip of a lid I can conceal mountains of junk inside while everyone looking thinks I’m this really together stylish person.
My escritoire is Japanese lacquer colored. Ever time I see its lush, civilized richness, my brain releases a small hit of dopamine, which in turn, makes me want to write more. It’s a successful feedback loop.
When I open my escritoire’s lid, it’s as if I’m inside my own brain, and I like what I see. Everything inside it is mine –– and because it has a lid, I know that nobody has messed with my brain since the last time I was in there.
But mostly I like escritoires because they exist purely for writing and nothing else. Their very existence is about the civilized creation of words, whether by ink or by electrons.
The “Douglas Coupland for SwitzerCultCreative” collection is a reflection of everything I use daily. These are pieces that will unleash creativity, dopamine, high style and timelessness into their user’s world.
When I went to art school in Hokkaido, I had to study several Japanese art forms — ikebana, rock arranging, calligraphy and sumi-e painting. I think everybody should study these things. It makes you reframe the way you see the world. These seats are unexpectedly ergonomic and work whether you’re doing ink work, or blogging on a MacBook Pro.
Lacquer is a perfect color. A few years back I bought a small piano and it needed repainting so I gave the painter a lacquer-colored bento box cup and he gave me a weird look. But when it was done? Beautiful. This scary old piano became something of beauty that people talk about years later. The red lacquer color is very underutilized in the West. This escritoire has that same eternal magic, yet it’s been updated with delicate inwardly scalloped brass hardware is reminiscent of Mac laptops.
I collect tempera paint pucks from various cultures. Ever since kindergarten, every time I see paint pucks my universe becomes larger and is filled with more possibilities. The colored boxes inset into the white escritoire take my mind back to living in Japan and using sumi-e paint. I think I have an actual crush on this piece. It’s juicy.
Small glimpses can sometimes color the rest of our lives. The checker pattern and periwinkle color in the lamps come from a brief 1986 memory I have of a sliding door I saw in Kyoto’s Ryoan-ji Temple.
Twenty-three years later I was reading a magazine and they showed the living room of actor Gary Cooper –– he had a really good sense of architectural style. I saw that he’d used the same color and motif on his living room’s main wall, and my brains almost dribbled out of my ears. I ripped out the page and then promptly lost it. I just went on Google and found out that Larry Gagosian bought it for 15.5 million dollars. Lucky guy.
The shades of these lamps are simple wire frames with translucent shoji-type material. The beige smaller lamp seemed like a nice accompaniment piece. Small lamps like this are friendly presences in any room.
Most people don’t know it, but books basically ony come in three sizes: paperback, hardcover and oversize. I have thousands of books and only a few books break this rule.
I made these shelves for myself in these three sizes, but I noticed that whenever people come to the house they pretty much always ask me where I bought them. They’re simple, smart, strong, and can be arranged in any number of configurations like Legos. They also have caps and kicks available should you want to change proportions.
I call them the Osaka shelves because when I was looking at earthquake photos from the 1995 Osaka quake, a wall came off an office bulding and I saw shelves very much like these ones inside.
The mechanical hardware on the shelves is dead simple: two dowels on the doors that fit within two grooves in the box. The covers smoothly open up, out and in, and a magnet keeps it flat in the closed position. I really think everybody who likes books should have a set of these. They’re terrific.
This is a Vancouver firm that works globally, exporting highest quality specialty furniture. All of it is made locally acording to sustainable ideals, and it embodies the best of what I think manufacturing will need to succeed in the coming decades.