Author Douglas Coupland designs a new furniture collection
- (opens in new tab)
- (opens in new tab)
- (opens in new tab)
- Sign up to our newsletter Newsletter
With thirteen best-selling novels under his belt, novelist and Wallpaper* contributor Douglas Coupland (opens in new tab) has now turned his hand to furniture, launching his first collection during the Interior Design Show (opens in new tab) in Toronto last week. Entitled 'Douglas Coupland for Switzcultcreative', his range comprises five key pieces: an escritoire that emulates the proportions of a Japanese bento box, a writer's chair, a bookshelf, a table lamp and a standing lamp, designed in ode to his own workspace where all his literary magic happens.
Given his impressive literary pedigree, you can be excused for forgetting that Coupland actually trained as a designer. The Generation X author graduated from the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design (opens in new tab), with a focus in sculpture, before going on to study at the Hokkaido College of Art and Design in Sapporo, Japan in the 1980s. 'My writing can be split into fiction and non-fiction, and the same can be said about my visual work,' he says. 'Design is simply the non-fiction version of art.'
His stint at Hokkaido College explains the Asian aesthetic to his work. 'Of all the design approaches to materials, I genuinely think the Japanese have the most engaging,' says Coupland. 'Staring at the escritoire alone, with its combination of colours, puts my brain in a really happy place.'
Coupland's range was conceived after he broke a leg two years ago and was forced to reduce his working footprint to a minimum. The escritoire was the starting point for the collection. 'Escritoires are elegant: with one flip of a lid I can conceal mountains of crap inside while everyone looking on thinks I'm this really together stylish person,' he says. 'It's a very handy piece, but it belongs in one of those extinct categories of furniture, which you can't find around anymore.'
Coupland's escritoire has a hole in the back for cables and wires. 'All Louis XIV would need to join the 21st century is a small Black & Decker power drill,' he declares.
To realize his design vision to the highest standard, the author teamed up with fellow Canadians, Switzercultcreative (opens in new tab), a Vancouver-based firm. Brother and sister co-founders Allan and Renee Switzer, who left their family's furniture business to start the new entity in August 2011, have strict design principles, only making their furniture with locally derived, sustainable products. 'In the same way that we care about the food we eat, we place a great importance on knowing where our products come from,' says Allan Switzer.
To wit, Coupland's designs incorporate materials such as locally derived maple plywood ('British Columbia is the home of wood, and we never do anything with it,' exclaims Coupland), locally sourced cowhide leather for the seats and linings and luscious finishing details, such as glossy black lacquer and 24 karat gold leaf, which are all formaldehyde and CFC-free.
Pei-Ru Keh is the US Editor at Wallpaper*. Born and raised in Singapore, she has been a New Yorker since 2013. Pei-Ru has held various titles at Wallpaper* since she joined in 2007. She currently reports on design, art, architecture, fashion, beauty and lifestyle happenings in the United States, both in print and digitally. Pei-Ru has taken a key role in championing diversity and representation within Wallpaper's content pillars and actively seeks out stories that reflect a wide range of perspectives. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two children, and is currently learning how to drive.
Feast your eyes: Nadine Ghosn brings cutlery-inspired jewellery to the table
Nadine Ghosn’s Youtensils jewellery collection brings a playfulness to the functional forms of the humble fork, spoon and disposable straw
By Hannah Silver • Published
Former builders’ yard transformed into a home and studio by Studio MacLean
This new project, a former builders’ yard in the Cotswolds, by Studio MacLean, showcases the design and build skills of Jason and Jenny Rose MacLean
By Jonathan Bell • Published
Herman Miller presents Alexander Girard posters from his panels designs
You can now buy Alexander Girard posters, inspired by his decorative panels, thanks to a new Herman Miller collection
By Pei-Ru Keh • Published