In our Table Top series we learn about the prides, passions and possessions displayed on people’s coffee tables. A canvas to illustrate cultural tastes, we find out what inspires the designers, the makers and the influencers, and what their current reads, must-see movies, personal treasures and favourite foodie treats are.
We met with Ian Archer, designer at Arlo & Jacob, who talks us through his coffee table; tea drinking, reading, running, cooking, music, wine, and above all – his family.
“A day has to start with a ridiculous amount of tea, preferably from my favourite Marimekko teapot and in my favourite mug – wide enough to dunk a biscuit in and created by my friend Joanna Rose.
The books have much resonance both past and present. I was always a reluctant reader growing up, and despite an inspiring teacher fermenting in me a love of Shakespeare, Chaucer & George Bernard Shaw, throughout my college years I barely picked up a book. I finally started again whilst on holiday with my now wife, Judy, who introduced me to 'Love in the Time of Cholera' by Gabriel Garcia, which she was reading at the time. It was my first Gabriel Garcia novel and there have been many others since – I’ve just started reading some of his short stories again and introducing them to our daughters.
Another favourite book is the Haruki Murakami memoir which had a fantastic resonance for me after I started running again aged 40 (something else neglected and rediscovered) – Murakami articulates brilliantly so much of what I also feel when running.
Ottolenghi’s 'Plenty' is also a current favourite – what better way to nourish oneself after all that running than with something from these simply delicious recipes! One of the joys of designing for a living and working from home a lot of the time is that I can listen to music all day. I'm told by my children that the music is often too loud, but the inclusion of inspirational Edwyn Collins on virtually all of my playlists has clearly had the desired effect - as to hear 'Rip it Up' blaring from a teenager’s room with her singing along to it warms my heart.
I often sketch late into the evening, sitting on a sofa or in my favourite 'Raffa' chair, with a large glass of wine. On the coffee table is a wonderful Beaumes De Venise which we brought back from our holiday and is waiting to be shared with some friends!”