Milan-based Parterre de Rois first came to our attention via the beautiful cover of its ‘Happiness’ issue which won multiple design awards last year. Conceived as a dinner party mix of content – the title refers to an open party, the floor of kings – each issue is a careful mix of contributions around a theme. We catch up with the team behind the biannual magazine as their fifth issue, ‘Black,’ is published.
How was your weekend?
Our weekend was spent preparing the launch for Parterre de Rois, we were working on invites, teasers and organizing the party. This year Nils Bech will be singing for us. It wasn’t all work and no play though, the weathers warming up here so we had a few strong aperitivos at the pavement bars!
Tell us about your typical Monday journey to work
Our typical Monday is plenty of tea and music, the day has to start with some tunes anything from Leonard Cohen to Jamie xx. Gianni cycles to work and I walk. As we both have day jobs our Parterre de Rois day starts after 8pm with more music and the tea replaced by wine!
Describe the state of your desk.
Its in order, most of the time, generally Gianni likes to pile up random papers and can never throw anything away. We have a vintage Valentine by Olivetti, Gianni is writing some stories, we have a Marni wire pear and a long, long list of things to do…..
Which magazine do you first remember?
Gianni remembers the beginning of Dazed, the first issues of Matador and some great Italian magazines like Fantom and Permanent Food, and Max Doyle’s Doing Bird, a good friend.
Molly remembers, well if I have to be honest I think my first magazine was Twinkle! But to think of the first magazine that changed everything for me, that really made me curious about the world outside the small village where I grew up it would have to be i-D, I would go and leaf through it in our newspaper shop before my paper round!
Which magazine matters to you the most right now?
Impossible to say the quality is really high. We go from Luncheon to System to The Gentlewoman, Apartamento, honestly there is so much out there worth owning that is difficult to choose, from independent mags to the more established.
Parterre de Rois brings together work from all sorts of people. How do you decide who to invite to contribute?
We don’t have a formula, some of the contributors are artists that we follow others new discoveries. We love how everybody responds so differently to the same theme, it is always a great thrill when we receive the work and we do our best to showcase it in the best possible way.
The last front cover was so well received was it hard to follow it ?
We understood the strength of the last cover and how rowdy it was, we had lots of options for Black and probably what you would call many more eye grabbing covers that were probably in line with the last issue but we didn’t want to choose a cover for it to be attention-seeking. We chose our cover on how it worked with the content and how we are feeling at the time. This cover (above) is the absolute contrast of Happiness (below), it’s grown up, it’s slick and its subtle but hopefully it will make people curious and want to look inside.
Pick a spread from the new issue and tell us what it says about your magazine.
There has been much talk around Anish Kapoor and the colour black after his patenting of the blackest black, but we asked the artist to contribute with something less exposed and more personal. The result is a collection of beautiful black drawings that are a very intense interpretation of black and what this theme evokes. This is what we try to do with collaborators. Something very personal and unique, like the Dennis Morris story, where he lived with the Aborigines and documented his time through his art – photography.
Who would you invite to your perfect dinner party?
Patti Smith, PJ Harvey, Eddy Izzard, John Waters, the director Steve McQueen, Run the Jewels and Nina Chanel Abney.
What are you finding most frustrating about your work this week?
We are crap at invoicing and paperwork, I can’t find the folder with old orders!
What’s going to be the highlight of this week for you?
This week hopefully the magazine will arrive in your store. We are excited to see it on your shelves and hear the feedback for what has been a very intense and interesting journey.
What will you be doing after this chat?
Organizing an outfit from Marni for Nils Bech and taking the dog for a walk.