Octaevo is a stationery brand from Barcelona founded by graphic designer and art director Marcel Baer. Octaevo’s products are inspired by the Mediterranean and produced in partnership with artisan workshops using the highest quality materials.
Born in Zurich, Marcel found inspiration to start Octaevo from a a family photo album containing images of his father, Kurt, deep sea diving and Super 8 footage from his Spanish grandmother, Marieta, documenting her trips across the Mediterranean in the early 60’s. This family passion for the sea and, in particular, for the Mediterranean is translated into Octaevo’s pieces, made to be held close and built to last.
We chatted to Marcel about his interest in stationery, design process and favourite places in Barcelona. Read the interview after the images.
Photos by Olga de la Iglesia
You are an art director and graphic designer at Studio Marcel Baer – how did you get interested in stationery and what inspired you to create Octaevo?
I have always been fascinated with printed products and craftsmanship. One day I realized I had amassed a huge archive of stationery I wasn’t even aware of. My passion must have started when I was about 6 years old. My grandfather would take me often to the local stationery shop, where I loved looking at the things on sale. It’s one of my fondest childhood memories. As a designer in Barcelona I am used to working with brands and start-ups. The idea grew to create a project that unites my passion for travelling the Mediterranean and enchanting stories – transforming them into beautifully crafted goods. We now sell in about 20 countries and will present 45 new products this September at Maison&Objet in Paris and then at DesignJunction in London.
We’re very interested in the process of making your products. Where do you source the materials and manufacture the products? Where do you find inspiration for your collections?
From the beginning I have had the mandate to support local producers as much as possible. As a Mediterranean brand we want our products to feel warm. Sourcing the right materials and combining them is a big part of the process. We invest a lot of time finding the right providers and getting to know them. Spending time at printers and workshops is one of the most rewarding aspects of production. A close relationship shows in the results.
Travelling the Mediterranean offers a lot of inspiration as it’s such a dynamic area on the world map! It’s a small sea, but the greatness of its history makes it seem larger than it actually is. Just think of the blue of the sea, the Greek philosophers, the bazaars in Morocco, Fellini, the French Riviera… it’s infinite.
Please tell us a little bit about Barcelona. Do you consider it a creative city? What are your favourite spots in the city?
Barcelona has changed quite a lot over the last few years. The creative scene is definitely reinventing itself and re-emerging. A lot of new restaurants and cafés have opened and as I love food, I am very happy about that. OMA Bistro is currently my favourite. I like the outdoors and gardens, therefore my preferred spots in Barcelona are the Teatre Grec on Montjuic, the Hivernacle garden centre and the terrace of the Hotel Alma.
Who are your favourite local designers and makers we should know about?
I like design that is relevant, mature, contemporary and timeless… There are quite a lot of local designers whose work I admire and I am happy to know some of them personally. Teresa Estapé is a local artist and jeweller that creates beautiful one-off pieces. Woody Allen is one of her clients. Lucia Vergara from Après Ski creates minimal jewellery made of geometric shapes and amazing colours. Ceramic artist Olga Tomas has her studio ¨Atuell¨ in the center of Gracia and also offers workshops besides her own creations . Andrew Trotter and Mari Luz Vidal are the directors of Openhouse Magazine, a publication about people who open their spaces to the public and the life they share -it’s great. When it comes to flowers, Manuela Sosa from Gang and the Wool and Estudio Sauvage make the most beautiful creations in Barcelona. Regarding furniture design, I am a fan of Lobster’s Day by Albert Garcia and the marble design objects by Aparentment… to name just a few.