Tyler Brûlé is a publishing phenomenon. A war reporter turned fashion editor, he launched the ultra-hip style magazine Wallpaper* in 1996 and the following year Times Inc bought it for a cool $1.7 million. He writes the Fast Lane column in the Financial Times and has also founded an upmarket monthly magazine called Monocle. His latest venture is based at chic headquarters in Marylebone, where everything is so stylish that if you ask for a coffee it comes in “a minimalist white cup on its own limed-oak board, with a single brown sugar cube and modernist zinc teaspoon.” Wow. I want an office like that.
Brûlé featured in a Guardian interview at the weekend and the thing that really stuck in my mind was his insistence on an immaculate office. “People need to attend to details,” he said. “I believe in a tidy ship. No jackets on the backs of chairs.”
Jackets on the backs of chairs. The offices I’ve worked have been full of them. If you walked through a news room in the 80s and 90s you’d see rows and rows of chairs with jackets slung over the back. Mainly because their owners wanted it to look like they’d just popped to the canteen to grab a quick coffee and would be back toiling away at their desks within a couple of minutes. The truth was that they’d actually slunk down the back stairs for a pint or two at the pub.
Newspapers are very different places now. The rambling Fleet Street rabbit warrens have given way to sleek modern towers, with airy, plant-filled atriums and state-of-the-art technology. I’m pretty sure, though, that there are still quite a few jackets tossed over the backs of chairs…