I first met the interior designers Rafael Kalichstein and Joshua Rose of the firm FORM Los Angeles while editing a story several years ago for InStyle about a home they’d designed for the comedian and actress Sarah Silverman. Filled with color and whimsy, the place was built to express Silverman’s passions and pastimes.
So upon learning that Kalichstein and Rose were collaborating with the Old World letterpress stationer Dempsey and Carroll on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, I was eager to see the results. The super minimalist products are now available for purchase, including these two elegant notecard styles which are part of their Brussels Collection, inspired by a journey the pair took to the European capital.
“We were so moved by what we saw on our trip and the relationships we made with the artisans we met there,” explains Kalichstein. “It made a mark on us and changed us as designers.” A black mark—a foil printed “brushstroke” of paint—on one card (above) is a visual representation of that experience. (“I love tucking this gem into a good book I am gifting with, ‘best wishes’ to the recipient,” says Leo Mascotte, Dempsey’s creative director.)
The other design by Ophélie Renaudin (above) shows the outline of a rock crystal. “We are mineral junkies in our office and are interested in their beauty and also their metaphysical qualities,” says Rose. “On our Belgium trip we saw so many beautiful ones.” Mascotte helped develop a pattern on the inside of the envelope that abstracts the crystal outline, extending the lines to create an asymmetry that feels modern and unexpected.
Printed on Dempsey’s printing presses that date back to 1905, the cards are a stark example of what ensues creatively when old and new influences collide. After all, we desperately need more reasons to put pen to paper.