The home of magCulture

Photography by Anton Rodriguez

Finding its home in a parade of shops at the bottom of London’s first council-built tower block on the 1958 Brunswick Estate, magCulture opened its doors in December 2015. Replacing a faltering newsagent with ordered calm, magCulture invites visitors to pause in comfort with the latest and greatest in print.

Founder Jeremy Leslie has enjoyed twenty years immersed in print. His career as an editorial designer lead to the launch of the website magCulture, the success of which prompted the introduction of his online shop, and the launch of its Clerkenwell premises and HQ. Challenging the assumption that printed matter is approaching extinction, his desire to create a place to come and enjoy well-designed independent publications has been realised.

As renovations began, the false ceiling was removed to allow the original saw-tooth roof to diffuse the glancing London light into the shop. Blue vinyl floor tiles were gingerly peeled back to reveal a magnificent mid-century terrazzo floor, evidence of, as Leslie puts it, “the stars aligning. People used to crack that joke about newspapers being ‘black, white and read all over,’ and here I have unearthed by chance something that I could have only dreamed of installing. By pure serendipity it’s the colours of magCulture. It’s one of the first things people notice when they walk in.”

The details in the fabric of the building proved to Leslie that there was something “instinctively right about the choice of space and furniture.”

Jeremy Leslie’s 620 chair makes magCulture the most comfortable magazine shop

On his decision to choose Vitsœ for magCulture, Leslie explained that he thought “there was the need for a shop in London that takes as much care with the presentation of magazines as the magazines take with the presentation of their content.” They are all displayed cover-out on sloping shelves and visitors are encouraged to flick through the titles. “People often spend around 40 minutes poring over everything, which we welcome. The creators of the magazines have invested their time and effort, so our customers should be free to examine every page if they wish to. Despite the temporary nature that they are perceived as having, these publications are in fact wonderfully written and photographed reflections of our society and our lives at any given moment in time.”

“Both the building and the Vitsœ systems were devised within the same modernist era. They fit so well together, and so from a historical, cultural and practical context they are ideal. The flexibility of the systems is vital, and means we’ve been able to constantly adapt the space to suit the stock we have in at the time.”

Jeremy Leslie uses sloping shelves to display his array of magazines cover-out

Our shelves, chairs and tables encourage customers to pause and consider purchases at their own pace. By pairing magCulture’s informed selection of printed matter with Vitsœ, Leslie hopes to translate what constitutes good design and demonstrate the value of living with artefacts that are decidedly long term in their nature.