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Meet Marcel Baer of Octaevo

Mediterranean Munches with the Prolific Product Designer
Posted by Gestalten—10/2017

Where we eat can often be as important as what we’re eating: Be it in a dingy dive or a palatial hall, stories unfold around the dinner table. These rich, diverse, and delicious tales are what inspired Marcel Baer of Octaevo to design a whimsical series of lobster-shaped bookmarks. Originally a visual designer, Baer launched a shop for his wares in 2013. Octaevo is home to a range of bespoke products and homewares including luscious paper lamps, subtle stationery, and ceramic cups infused with a taste of the Mediterranean Sea that sits below Baer’s Barcelona studio.

We spoke with him ahead of the release of our book Appetizer, our book showcasing the bright interior design and architecture of bars, restaurants, and other eateries that helped inspire Baer’s visual feasts. Like what you see? The first 20 orders of Appetizer will come with a complimentary red-lobster bookmark from Octaevo. 

Could you tell us the story behind Octaevo’s name?

Octaevo comes from the combination of two words—a Greek and a Latin one. Octa refers to the eight principal winds that form the eight-wind compass rose, a tool used by sailors. Evo derives from the Latin Aevum, referring to the medium between time and eternity—the state of saints in heaven. The O refers to the coastline—the idea of starting a journey and coming back full circle to where you began. I like leaving, but coming home is always nice too.

Your father had a strong connection to the Mediterranean coast, and the products follow suit. What excites you about the sea?

Every journey begins in a port and the sea is full of stories, mystery, and adventure. The Mediterranean is a small sea, but the greatness of its rich history makes it seem larger than it actually is. Travel writer Paul Theroux captures the essence of Mediterranean very well in his book The Pillars of Hercules: He describes a journey starting from the Strait of Gibraltar, traversing all around the coast of Mediterranean to Ceuta, Morocco. It is a journey full of contrasts and stories that make the sea so special.

What’s the story behind the lobster bookmarks?

Storytelling is an important part of our products. The lobster bookmarks celebrate the bon vivant that appreciates food and drink. After all, life’s greatest delight is to share a table. Engaging company makes food taster better; laughter is brightest where food is best. 

How has the switch from working as the founder of a design studio to the owner of a brand been?

After working for many years in branding, art direction, and packaging design, I wanted to find out what it actually takes to bring your own brand to the consumer. Since the beginning the learning curve has been very steep and the overall experience extremely gratifying. 

What’s your signature dish for a dinner party?

An Ossbuco alla Milanese garnished with Gremolata. I often cook it the night before, so the meat gets extra tender. Delicious! 

Finally, what’s your favorite place to eat? And with whom?

There are too many great places to choose from. However, nothing beats homemade food in company of your family and friends. 

Images © Octaevo

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