In this edition of Face Behind the Workspace, we meet Paul de Zwart, the Dutch-born founder of contemporary furniture brand Another Country. Proudly carbon neutral, Another Country share our commitment to sustainability and transparent production. Starting with 'Stool one' in 2010, they have gradually built up a range of beautifully-crafted oak furniture that's elegantly simple and built to last. We first met Paul in 2018 and have since collaborated on 'Another Notebook' which celebrates our shared aesthetic and values.
Paul invites us into his workspace to enjoy ‘woody waxy’ smells and the key ingredients to a good notebook.
Interior of the Another Country shop in London's Marylebone
What’s the best workspace you’ve ever had?
I suppose it had to be our Wallpaper* magazine office when we were in our prime, four years after launch. We moved into a large office space near Waterloo Bridge, designed for us by Swedish architect Thomas Eriksson.
The building is on fire — what single item do you grab from your desk?
These days it has to be one’s smartphone. In those days it might have been my Rolodex.
Do you have a favourite workspace smell?
Our office and showroom have a pleasant, natural ‘woody / waxy’ smell that comes from all the wood furniture.
1990s Wallpaper* Magazine offices by Thomas Eriksson
What is your earliest memory of paper?
I used to love drawing. Since I grew in Italy it was always a Fabriano sketchpad.
What makes a good notebook?
I like it to have lines and I like to write on both sides of the page, so it has to open flat and be of a weight that doesn’t show the ink coming through. And I always seek out notebooks made with recycled materials, like your Everyday Notebook [with the cover made from used coffee cups].
Do you have a favourite stationery guilty pleasure?
I love embossed, blank thank-you cards
Do you have any routines or rituals that make you feel organised?
I am not the most organised of people, I have to admit. I’d like to think that my desk reflects what goes in my head, namely hundreds of different things covering all aspects of the business, from design, to marketing, to finance and operations.
What helps you concentrate?
Paul's current notebook
What do you love most about your work?
The variety and ethos behind what we do and how we do things.
What inspires you?
People and organisations that exist to do good in the world. And good architecture.
What frustrates you?
The reactionary, egocentric, destructive and sometimes pure and simple evil that exists in mankind.
The Davenport Bureau by David Irwin for Another Country
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A little too late in life I worked out that I wanted to become an architect, so maybe Another Country is my way of getting close to that.
What career advice would you give to your teenage self?
Seek out advice, don’t be afraid to ask for help, and focus.
What aspect of your work are you most proud of?
Designing products that make people happy.
Desk One in natural oak
Paul's picks from the Mark+Fold range