A New Haunt For Stationery Lovers
Part of the appeal of a Rubberband notebook is its lack of embellishment. When piled alongside other journals and diaries in bookshops and stationery marts, the black cover notebooks with pop-coloured pages generally stand out on account of their striking simplicity. Mumbai-based industrial designer Ajay Shah, who founded Rubberband in 2007, told us that he kept the design deliberately understated. “I’m not a big fan of graphics, prints, and excessive details,” said Shah, a National Institute of Design graduate who runs a multi-disciplinary design studio in Mahalaxmi called the Ajay Shah Design Studio.
Rubberband journals have often been called the Indian version of Moleskine diaries. However, Shah told us that any likeness his products have to those of the iconic Italian stationery brand is, as they say in the movies, purely coincidental. “We weren’t so exposed to Moleskine five years ago when we set up Rubberband,” said Shah. “I just wanted to create a simple design. The use of coloured pages indicates that Moleskine was never the inspiration.” Earlier this month, Shah converted 800 square feet of his 2,000 square feet studio into a design store called The Everyday Project. The stark white, warehouse-like space stocks the whole range of Rubberband products such as diaries, craft blocks, memo pads, pens and pencils, as well as a new collection not available anywhere else in Mumbai.
The collection includes nifty wine and recipe journals, desktop trays, and notebooks with neon fabric covers. The store also retails Shah’s Lego-coloured, factory produced furniture label called Industrial Playground. Among the pieces that caught our eye were red, blue, and yellow chairs; an aluminum lamp called Tintin; and an angular fibreglass bench called the Vanishing Point. “I’ve stuck to industrial design but there’s also a lightheartedness to the furniture, hence the name Industrial Playground,” said Shah, whose furniture is also sold at Le Mill in Wadi Bunder.
In addition to in-house products, The Everyday Project stocks select issues of lifestyle magazine Monocle, and Spanish interiors magazine Apartamento, as well as goods by niche international design labels—including Droog from Amsterdam, and Kyouei and Anything, both from Japan—that share Rubberband’s playful yet understated aesthetic. We particularly liked the vibrantly illustrated crumpled city maps by Italian design company Palomar; the liquid bookmarks by Kyouei; the series of simple typographic posters by British graphic designer Anthony Burrill; the asterisk shaped 3D erasers by Anything; the sticky lamps by Droog; and the multi-pocket shoulder bags for laptops and other gadgets by Sweden’s Unit Portables.
Prices range from Rs75 for Rubberband’s monolith graphite pencil to Rs35,000 for a metal table.