Artist and writer Douglas Coupland has published thirteen novels, two short story collections, and seven non-fiction books—many of them offering pithy, precise examinations of consumer culture. So perhaps it only makes sense that Coupland would turn his eye from the page to the room, leading to his new collection of furniture and lighting in collaboration with Vancouver’s SwitzerCultCreative.
The Douglas Coupland for SwitzerCultCreative collection includes four pieces of furniture, each designed with the idea of, as Coupland puts it, “creating an ideal writing environment.”
The Bento Box and special edition Paint Box (below) desks are variations on the traditional escritoires. “They exist purely for writing and nothing else,” Coupland says. "Their very existence is about the civilized cultivation of words, whether by ink or by electrons. As a furniture category, they’re slightly old-fashioned, just one notch ahead of spittoons.”
Plus, he adds, “When I open it, it’s as if I’m inside my own brain, and I know that nobody has messed with my brain since the last time I was in there.”
The design of the desk chair, available in five colors, arose from memories of his time studying ikebana in art school.
The desks and chairs are accompanied by a floor and table lamp, both inspired by a checkerboard pattern he saw in 1986 in Kyoto’s Ryoan-ji Temple. Stacking bookshelves provide a stylish home for the fruits of the writer’s labor—and a safe one, since they were inspired by shelving Coupland saw which had made it through the 1995 Osaka earthquake intact.
“Art is about space,” Coupland explains. “Fiction is about time. Fiction cleaves into fiction and non-fiction, and the visual world cleaves into art and design. Design is the nonfiction version of art. So the furniture collection is actually easily classifiable as nonfiction. It sounds so clinical, but it’s really about creating an environment and space where you can be purely yourself, and pull something wonderful out of yourself.”