This weekend I had a blast in Groningen, all the way up north in our little Dutch country. I accidentally came across this illustrated public library cafe and it really catches your eye. It seems like a wonderful place to hang out and work, meet or have some coffee.
Unfortunately, the library was just closing down as I passed by. It is the weekend of a big music industry festival, so our focus of being in Groningen was slightly different. But I peeked through the window, read the messages written outside and loved the whole concept immediately! It communicates things like ‘Fresh coffee every day’, ‘Entrance? Move on’ and ‘Return your books here’. Simple but effective.
I like the fresh colours, the furniture and the illustrations of dreamy (holiday) subjects like a caravan and sailboat. And there’s text everywhere. Even a quote from our famous Rotterdam poet Jules Deelder: ‘Heelal – hoe verder men keek, hoe groter het leek’ (Universe – The farther they looked, the bigger it seemed). And, one by theatre comedian Herman Finkers: ‘Ik ben een levende legende. Ik ben m’n eigen grote held’ (I am a living legend. I am my own big hero). So nice!
Later on I found out that creative studio Wij zijn Kees (We are Kees) is responsible for the styling, design and illustration of the library cafe. They do some other great work too, so this was a nice way to discover them. They also run the beautiful art & design shop Walnut Mixstore very close-by, where you’ll want to buy everything. It’s a showcase for new talent and (international) design.
So, this is how Groningen inspired me to introduce you to the most experienced mural artists in our own agency: Melanie Drent, Diana van der Voort and Trompette de la Mort. Illustration is just a great way to spread your message and style by using the building itself, for everyone to see and enjoy. In the library, even the menus are incorporated into the look and feel – and that’s how it should be. Next time I visit a cafe, I’ll have to check the walls, to see if they could use some handmade illustrated loveliness…
Meanwhile I did some shopping for graphic novels, to keep the illustration rush going. Perfect reading material for the weekend! Want to know what they were like? I’ll give an update about that another time.