Stationery Addict: Duncan Campbell

At home with the designer & his exquisite stationery.




Toby Lewis Thomas

If ever there was someone who had an eye for fine design, it’s Duncan Campbell. As co-founder of creative consultancy Campbell-Rey with his business partner Charlotte Rey, and owner of a thoroughly photographed London flat which he shares with his artist fiancé (and Papier collaborator) Luke Edward Hall, everything he does is imbued with exceptional taste and eclectic style. His refined stationery collection is no exception: vintage pencils, gold-foiled thank you cards and designer glasses as pen pots. He simply had to be one of our stationery addicts.

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Duncan met Charlotte 10 years ago in Paris when they both worked as interns for Acne Paper (the publication of Swedish fashion label Acne) whilst studying on a year abroad. A creative connection developed instantly between the two and they soon became the editors of the magazine for several years. Then, in 2014, they founded Campbell-Rey, initially as a consultancy focused on branding and creative direction, with the practice evolving over the years to include product design and interiors.

“Everything is built on the foundation of the dynamic between us,” Duncan explains, “and the shared aesthetic we’ve developed over the years.” From branding for hotels to designing furniture, the pair have applied their touch to a host of projects. Recently they created their Rosanna glassware collection – the culmination of a year’s experimentation and collaboration with Laguna B, a glass manufacturer based in Murano, Venice. “The collection plays on the juxtaposition between the strong geometric forms and intense colours which we conceived for the glasses, and the glossy softness that results when they are crafted by the hand of the master. It’s a real joy for us to work with the craftsmen in Murano, and a privilege to employ the skills that they have been refining since the thirteenth century.”

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Duncan’s creative spark is often fired by the art and craft he finds on his travels. His and fiancé Luke’s Instagram feeds are a global feast of beautiful objets, extravagant interiors and wondrous architecture. “Travel is a huge source inspiration for us both,” he says. “We’re big believers in the idea that to make good work and have creative ideas you have to see as much as possible.”

Lots of these travel inspirations, or indeed the actual pieces they’ve picked up on their voyages, find their way back into the couple’s idiosyncratically decorated North London flat. Bold, colourful and eclectically curated, it has featured in the pages of many magazines and Sunday supplements. How do they feel about the world and her wife wanting to capture a slice of their interior style? “We change things around a lot so it’s always fun to shoot in the house and to try and tell a new story. I suppose the worst thing is the mess.”

Once the photographers have cleared up and gone home, it’s back to the drawing board for new designs using one of his vintage propelling pencils. These, of course, are kept in their own unique designer pen pot: “I use an early sample of one of our Campbell-Rey Murano tumblers that didn’t make the cut.” Stationery doesn't get more stylish than that.

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How does stationery have a positive impact on your day-to-day life?
Good equipment that you know you can work is a joy to use, and more importantly helps you get the ideas down on paper.

What’s your earliest stationery memory?
The excitement of back to school stationery shopping. Coloured rubbers and those troll things with pink hair that sat on the end of your pencil.

What’s your stationery vibe?
My current notebook is a Luke Edward Hall for Papier Ludo pink notebook.

Who’s your stationery idol?
I’m a huge admirer of anyone with beautiful handwriting. Penmanship and calligraphy are incredible skills that I sadly don’t possess. I have the handwriting of a six-year-old.

Complete this sentence: ‘New stationery makes me feel…’
Like getting down to work.

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Why will the good old fashioned pen and paper never die?
Handwritten thank you notes are hugely underrated. They only take a moment and let someone know that you have taken the time to think of them properly.

How do you feel when faced with the first blank page of a notebook?
Full of ideas.

Are you a doodler or a neat notetaker?
A bit of both. Neat notes in meetings, doodles while travelling on a train or in the air.

What’s that To Do list item that never gets ticked off?
There are always a few receipts lying around that need to be dealt with.

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How does it feel to complete a To Do list?
It’s like painting the Eiffel Tower – by the time you get to the end it’s time to start afresh.

Pen or pencil?
Pencil for drawing, fountain pen for notes.

Lined or plain notebooks?

That piece of stationery that you absolutely adore but have never actually used?
I have a beautiful pair of brass scissors that I never use. Maybe it’s time to get collaging.

How do you feel about sharing stationery?
Anyone who borrows my pen is getting watched like a hawk.

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Discover all the Papier stationery addicts here.