Moleskine Detour: Q&A with Maria Sebregondi

Moleskine Detour: Q&A with Maria Sebregondi

By Maria Sebregondi
Have you ever wanted to peek inside the notebooks of your favorite designers? In The Detour Book: The Moleskine notebook experience, readers are privy to a stunning collection of more than 250 notebooks that have been decorated, hacked, and sketched by some of the world's leading designers, artists, and creative thinkers, including Spike Jonze, Christian Lacroix, Mary Ellen Mark, Paula Scher, and Karim Rashid. The notes, clippings, drawings, and sculptures showcased in the book have been touring the world in Detour, a travelling exhibit produced by Moleskine that allows visitors to experience, flip through, and interact with the notebooks’ pages.

To take you even deeper into the creative process, Dwell has partnered with Moleskine on a weekly series featuring interviews with some of today’s most exciting designers from around the world that contributed to The Detour Book, including Rodrigo Almeida (Brazil), Scott Henderson (USA), and Ginette Caron (Italy).  The series kicks off today with Maria Sebregondi, who created the Moleskine notebook line in 1997 and is now the Director of Brand Equity for Moleskine.

The 352-paged Detour Book, $70 is available for purchase here.


What inspired Moleskine to create the Detour exhibition and The Detour Book?

We offer open platforms to create, communicate, and share. Through the Detour project, we wanted to create a long journey of shared creativity, a sort of atlas of contemporary imagination with the maps created by world’s leading artists and creative thinkers. We conceived the Detour Book as an archive of the 21st century creative thinking in the making.

Why is the exhibition and book called "Detour"?

A "Detour" is a different path drifting from the common, linear way. It is a free exploration that offers the possibility of getting lost in order to discover unexpected places. It’s like untangling the threads of imagination.

Fashion designer Christian Lacroix's spread.

How do you want the reader to react after reading the book? What do you hope they will learn from the book?

The book offers a vital reminder of the creative power of handwriting and sketching. Seeing images of Moleskine notebooks decorated, hacked, cut, sewed, sketched, and written upon invites us to reflect and discuss both the creative process and the emotional and cognitive strength of the physical gesture on the page.

Do you prefer pen and paper or smartphone/tablet/tech?

It depends on the moment and my activities. I always have both. In general, tech is more for functional activities and paper for new ideas and for committing things firmly and safely to memory.

Japanese architect Toyo Ito's day and night sketches.

Who or what inspires you?

Anything in the making, projects, and ideas during their inception—when everything is still possible.

What is the coolest new design product you’ve seen or own?

The Evernote Smart Notebook by Moleskine, facilitating the transfer from analog to digital.

Design studio GamFratesi's Moleskine House.

What are five things you cannot live without?

Love (family and friends), good food, reading, music, and the energy of cities. I think looking at the objects we carry also answers this question. In my analog cloud, (that’s how I think of the bag I carry all the time) you’ll always find a smartphone connecting me with everything I love and need; some Moleskine notebooks (different styles and sizes); 2 pens (black and red) for jotting down notes and ideas and capturing details on the go; a keepsake stone tied to good memories; and something that smells good.

If you could design in any other discipline, what would it be and why (i.e. if you are a painter, would you want to be a photographer)?

There are too many options to really pick one: I would be a chef because I like to share good food, a dancer because I like my body’s energy, a musician because music is magic.

Industrial designer Karim Rashid's loops and shapes.

What design has moved you the most?

I have always been passionate with lamps and lighting design. I love Ingo Maurer’s creations, especially the birds series. I have a "Lucellino" on my night table. Its delicate and poetic winged light is the last greeting I receive in the evening and the first I enjoy in the morning. It is touch sensitive—my fingertip is enough to wake it up or send it to sleep.

Tell us about a new or upcoming project you are excited about.

We have just started to open our Moleskine retail stores, small outposts in high traffic locations, such as railway stations, airports, and central malls. The approach chosen by Moleskine is to offer its community an experience that represents the brand’s spirit: simple and clean design, combinations of classic black with splashes of bright colors and neon, and a link to travel, culture and digital themes. It’s very exciting to come in direct contact with our fans and share their experiences one-on-one.

Writer, editor, and publisher Dave Egger's take.


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