A lifestyle brand
Maria Giulia Zunino
Moleskine notebooks have a fascinating history. First introduced in the late nineteenth century in Paris where they gained popularity amongst avant-garde artists, they went out of production in the 1980s before being relaunched in Milan in 1995. Today their success appears to be unstoppable.
Filled with notes and sketches made during journeys, in the street or in cafes, the notebooks owned by the likes of Oscar Wilde, Van Gogh, Picasso, Hemingway and Matisse are now highly-valued museum pieces.
Almost 100 years later Bruce Chatwin declared that he was a devotee. «To lose a passport was the least of one’s worries. To lose a notebook was a catastrophe,» he said. And it was he who first called them moleskines due to their covers that reminded him of a mole’s skin. While working as a feature writer and art and architecture consultant for the Sunday Times, he discovered his true calling when interviewing ninety-three-year-old Eileen Gray (the architect who in the 1930s designed the first rationalist house, the famous E-1027 in Roquebrune-Cap Martin, now once again open to visitors). Noticing a map of Patagonia that she had painted, he decided then and there to set off for Chile and ended up staying for six months. He resigned his job at the newspaper and wrote his first book, called In Patagonia. It was 1977, he was 37 and this marked the beginning of his rise to fame. In his 1986 book Songlines, he described his favourite stationer’s shop in Rue de l’Ancienne-Comédie in Paris and expressed his sadness that notebooks were on the verge of extinction. Following the owner’s death, he wrote, the small family-run bookbinding company in Tours had closed down and moleskine notebooks were destined to disappear from circulation.
Inspired by that description, Maria Sebregondi and the publisher Modo & Modo began producing hard and soft cover notebooks with ivory coloured paper, thread-bound pages, rounded corners, bookmark ribbon, elastic closures and expandable inner pockets. It was an instant success, although the name Moleskine itself was not registered until 2007 when an investment fund acquired the company.
Today Moleskine is not just a notebook but the symbol of a lifestyle based on the increasingly global values of exploration and culture, the same values endorsed by the eponymous foundation which promotes education as a cornerstone of positive social change.
The new products for reading, writing and travelling (from backpacks to paper smartbooks capable of transferring hand-written notes and drawings to a digital device), the literary cafes and stores have all become lifestyle communication tools.
The stores located all over the world have a consistently rigorous but cheerful image, reflecting the notebook covers which now come in a kaleidoscope of vivid colours along with the traditional black. While classically neutral, the Moleskine brand image is instantly recognisable, essential and rigorous, never boring or overly minimalist, and always highly international.
While abiding by the brand’s image guidelines, the Los Angeles store also features a ceramic floor that combines the natural appeal of the material with advanced industrial technology and an attractive geometric design based on coordinating colours. The chosen collection is Neutra 6.0 porcelain from the Florim brand Casa dolce casa — Casamood in the Magnum Oversize 80×80 cm and 40×80 cm sizes. The series comes in 14 colours and 17 different sizes and thicknesses recommended for both floors and walls. The unobtrusive elegance of the aviation blue, aquamarine, white and iron shades of the tiles contrast with the vibrant colours of the products, becoming a defining element of the entire store.
Casa dolce casa - casamood, Neutra 6.0
80x80 cm (Magnum Oversize), 40x80 cm
vio, acquamarina, bianco, ferro
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): 0,08%
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): ULA, UHA, UA
Resistance to deep abrasion (ISO 10545-6): 140
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): compliant
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): compliant
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): 50 N/mm2
Slip resistance (DIN 51130): R11 grip