Aren't these beautiful? They're a work of art, but in notebook form, a truly pleasurable way to keep track of your thoughts and things to do. Little touches, like the printed page edges and the elegant black endpapers, turn what's essentially a fairly mundane everyday thing into an object of desire, a practical accessory that makes you smile whenever you need to use it.
So it probably won't come as much of a surprise to learn that these are Italian-born (in 1965) and Italian-made (in the ancient city of Bergamo, just north of Milan). Founded by husband and wife team Maria and Lindo Castelli, the company is still very much a family affair, and is - in their words - 'endlessly, curiously creative'. They have a fantastic work ethic: not only are their materials renewable or sustainably sourced, they also actively promote sustainability and preservation of the environment, and only work with those who share these values. They place great emphasis on the quality of the materials they use, and refuse to compromise on originality. As Castelli puts it, 'we trust each other and the unique skills each of us has perfected in our lifetimes.' They take great pride in producing top quality notebooks with an extraordinary attention to detail.
Take the Eden range, for example. The covers are colour-laden, intricate displays of the sort of shrubbery and animal life you might expect to see as you push your way through a tropical rainforest. Every time you look at one of the designs, you see something you didn't see before. It might be that a trip to the Amazon or northern Australia is not on your immediate agenda, but at least a Castelli Eden might make it feel a little more possible. You could use one of the notebooks to plan your trip!
The Harris, on the other hand, just reeks of wet wool and whisky. In a metaphorical sense, of course. As well-made as an expensive suit or a sturdy skirt, these notebooks come in the beautifully muted colours of a late, northern hemisphere autumn: slate blue, maple red and tobacco brown. The page edges are a contrasting colour to the cover, and match the fabric page marker. They're just the thing to take with you as you stride heather-clad moors and glens on the look-out for a stag or two.
Tatami mats traditionally cover the floors in Japanese houses, and in this Castelli range the covers are reminiscent of these deceptively simple furnishings. With an earthy, natural colour palette enhanced by hand-drawn lines, the Tatami notebooks are simple, stylish and superbly understated.
Feeling blue? Then the Shibori range is the one for you. Shibori is a dyeing technique originating from Japan which uses indigo for colour. These notebooks just radiate peace and tranquillity, the perfect vehicle for recording inspirational quotes and uplifting thoughts.
The notebooks' layouts are simple: ruled pages of ivory paper. Write lists, write reminders, write notes, write a story… it doesn't matter what you decide to do with your Castelli notebook, because, in the words of Albert Einstein, Castelli's favourite quote, 'Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life's coming attractions…'
15 July 2019