Guestbook, an inviting new magazine

Designed by Field Projects, Guestbook is a new quarterly publication created for onefinestay, an ‘unhotel’ concept that offers signed-up members the chance to rent out their home when they’re not using it to like-minded people…

Designed by Field Projects, Guestbook is a new quarterly publication created for onefinestay, an ‘unhotel’ concept that offers signed-up members the chance to rent out their home when they’re not using it to like-minded people…

I say like-minded people because I personally can’t imagine anything worse than having complete strangers staying in the flat me and my wife call home and treating it like a hotel. That, however, is precisely the proposition offered by onefinestay and it already has around 1,000 homeowners signed up across London and New York, all happy for strangers to stay in their homes while they’re out of town.

The idea is that Guestbook is the only publication in these people’s homes that guests are allowed to keep (hence the ‘take me I’m yours’ bookmark poking out of it).

The 96 page magazine is full of features, essays, and interviews that go some way to describing what onefinestay is all about: a piece by journalist and author John-Paul Flintoff considers the home as an exhibition of its owner/s personalities; there’s an interview with Victoria Thornton, founder the Open House programme that sees interesting homes and buildings opened to the public; and a piece by Skye Sherwin looks at gallerists who curate exhibitions in their own homes.

Other features include a local’s guide to London’s Primrose Hill and a gallery section that showcases the interiors of a selection of onefinestay members’ homes. Here’s a look at some spreads:

As well as great photography by the likes of Jason Evans, Stefan Ruiz and Leigh Johnson, Guestbook is also abound with beautiful illustration by Ian Bilbey, Dermot Flynn and Emily Robertson.

“I was the design editor at Wallpaper* for eight years before taking up this role in September last year,” explains Guestbook editor Alex Bagner of the project. “My main ambition with Guestbook was to create a publication that people would want to pick up, sit down and read through and ultimately tell their friends about,” she continues.

“I wanted to create enough intrigue with it from afar, but also substance when up close. Plus, I really wanted to create something that people wanted to keep and hopefully as we come out with more issues, collect. I wanted it to feel stylish and beautiful but in a classic, charming way as opposed to glitzy and glamorous. It was a place for me to push onefinestay’s brand values – curious, thoughtful, smart, whimsical – without the constraints of digital design or business practicalities.”

“Onefinestay were very open with their brief for this project,” says James Reid of Field Projects who designed the magazine. “In fact, they had a clearer idea of what they didn’t want than what they did,” he continues, “they wanted to avoid anything too slick, too obvious or too bold. Instead they wanted something quirky, thoughtful, informed and a little eccentric. It also had to have family appeal.

“We referenced all manner of printed work when discussing direction with them,” Reid tells us, “vintage Holiday magazines (a US publication, Casa Vogue, the work of Slim Aarons, Tadanori Yokoo’s books, a fascinating out of print book from the 1960s called The London Nobody Knows and much more. Also the illustrations of the late Ellen Raskin were a major influence and have been a firm studio favourite since we first discovered them.”

“In terms of commissioning, we had wanted to work with illustrator Ian Bilbey for a long time,” says Reid, “and this was the perfect project for him – he has such a distinctive style and the cover and section openers he created have such a charm and wit to them. The cover with its quirky, inviting townhouse at dusk, and all the funny details seen through the windows, had that perfect feeling of inviting warmth, but it was odd enough to pique the readers’ curiosity and make them want to see what was inside.”

Above: The spread above (and the one above it also) are from a 16-page section of Guestbook dedicated to London’s Primrose Hill, illustrated by Emily Robertson. With its coloured stock and illustration style, the section conjured memories here at CR of Carlos, the award-winning Virgin Atlantic in-flight magazine created by John Brown and art directed by Warren Jackson.

“Photography-wise, we have collaborated with Stefan Ruiz, Jason Evans and Leigh Johnson on various projects before – each of whom are known for very different, distinctive work – but this was something much more intimate and low-key for them,” adds Reid. “Luckily they all got the idea straight away and were keen to be involved; its their unique take on domestic situations and ‘at home’ photo stories which really help define the first issue of Guestbook.”

Guestbook will also be available via as well as from a number of stockists including independent coffee shops, boutiques and galleries.

CR in Print
The January issue of Creative Review is all about the Money – well, almost. What do you earn? Is everyone else getting more? Do you charge enough for your work? How much would it cost to set up on your own? Is there a better way of getting paid? These and many more questions are addressed in January’s CR.

But if money’s not your thing, there’s plenty more in the issue: interviews with photographer Alexander James, designer Mirko Borsche and Professor Neville Brody. Plus, Rick Poynor on Anarchy magazine, the influence of the atomic age on comic books, Paul Belford’s art direction column, Daniel Benneworth-Gray’s This Designer’s Life column and Gordon Comstock on the collected memos, letters and assorted writings of legendary adman David Ogilvy.

Please note, CR now has a limited presence on the newsstand at WH Smith high street stores (although it can still be found in WH Smith travel branches at train stations and airports). If you cannot find a copy of CR in your town, your WH Smith store or a local independent newsagent can order it for you. You can search for your nearest stockist here. Alternatively, call us on 020 7970 4878, or buy a copy direct from us. Based outside the UK? Simply call +44(0)207 970 4878 to find your nearest stockist. Better yet, subscribe to CR for a year here and save yourself almost 30% on the printed magazine.

CR for the iPad
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