Glass talks to Jean-Francois Lanzetta, founder of Inhedited – maker of some of the world’s finest notebooks

“AND HOW are you with Suminagashi?” he asked. “Good, I think” she laughed down the line. He smiled to himself, knowing that he might just have found the missing ingredient for what was soon to become his first masterpiece. Suminagashi, or floating ink, is the Japanese technique of marbling paper, performed by Shinto priests as early as the 12th century.

These ancient masters of their craft had perfected a knowledge originally acquired from the Chinese, capturing on rice paper the mysterious ripples left by drops of black ink placed on water, representing elaborate patterns of thought, to be sent to, and interpreted by, the emperor himself. Now each of the notebooks by Inhedited commences and closes on an exquisite and unique pattern of Suminagashi.

Inhedited bookInhedited’s architecture infused assemblage Eight Manuscript Books

Jean-Francois Lanzetta is a calm man with delicate features, who likes to think before he speaks. His understated yet sophisticated manner incorporates what he has set to be the purpose of his creations: Not to take note, but to preserve the noteworthy. He radiates the zen, the quiet happiness of a man who has chased his dream and got there – or at least in very close proximity.

The restless search for a master of Suminagashi who would put the finishing touches on a work that has come to change his life, is only one example of the fundamental principle upon which he has built his label Inhedited. To work without compromise and to achieve the highest quality.

Inhedited bookA golden gilded edge line spans diagonally across the set of the eight notebooks

The Proa, Inhedited’s first, and most popular notebook to date, emerged in 2015 in a strictly limited and entirely handcrafted edition of 260; a restriction that has since become the benchmark of exclusivity for its two siblings, the larger Pervolo, and the architecture infused assemblage Eight Manuscript Books. The comfortably travel-sized Proa, an A5 shape, takes inspiration from the eponymous wooden sailing boats that can be found from the coastlines of the South Pacific to the port of Genova. And it is there where the story of Inhedited really originates, remembers Lanzetta. Eventually his work would take him from Milan to Zurich, and from Chicago to London.

Inhedited bookInhedited’s notebooks are hand crafted in England and come in strictly limited editions

While talking he carefully inspects the dark blue leather binding of one of the books on the table and with a faint sound the eight invisible magnets hidden in the cover let the clutch fall into place. He distinctly remembers how he would, aged five, find himself in his father’s workshop on a warm summer evening after school, busily sorting the finest leather by colour and quality for the family’s sewing business.

Inhedited bookAll Inhedited books are delivered in a beautifully designed box

Here he learnt a craft that has become an important ingredient of his own business, decades later. The care and appreciation for the beauty of the things that stay, he reminiscences, have to be the foundation in the search for innovation. It is certainly this principle that has driven his own adventure of making something truly unique.

Inhedited bookThe Pervolo’s Japanese floating ink back page

An admirable obsession with detail speaks from his quest to reinvigorate the art of edge gilding and to adopt it for Inhedited’s notebooks. Not prepared to outsource such vital detail that sets his work apart from everybody else’s in the field, he instead tracked down what must be the last company on earth producing the equipment for edge gilding. An extended visit to the premises in Switzerland was soon followed by a personal induction to the craft by the company’s director, and an intense phase of experimentation.

Inhedited bookInhedited’s notebook edges are gilded by hand

While nearly any edge gilding these days will have been done by an automaton, Lanzetta ordered the construction of his very own bespoke gadget to take home, the size of an old school pinball machine, and fully manual. Every single of Inhedited’s notebook edges has been gilded by hand on the very same machine without exception.

Inhedited book held up gild edges A Proa notebook by Inhedited with its golden book mark. A magnetic clasp is hidden in the cover

With its sophisticated closing mechanism and ruthlessly elaborate materials the Proa arrived only months too late to become Monsieur Gustave’s faithful companion in the Grand Hotel Budapest, who would have known how to do justice to its subtle grace. Fitted with precise yet unobtrusive lining its matte grey paper is designed to reduce the intimidating glare of a plain white. Indeed, the pages breathe an inviting warmth reserved for words of beauty, the personal, or the profound.

Inhedited book quadThe Proa notebooks in a range of available colours

The Pervolo, its more affordable and more worldly brother, comes in a near A4 format and carries the reference to yet another old book binding tradition, wrapping a single edge in different leather like a sophisticated glove interrupting the smooth surface of the book’s body. In cinematic terms the Pervolo is the book Tom Ford’s Serious Man would have trusted to keep his precious memories.

Inhedited book
Eight Manuscript Books in in their sophisticated box wrapping

Eight Manuscript Books in contrast displays such bright and clean cut monolithic qualities that carries it well into the world of interior design and architecture. A daring line of a golden gilded edge spans diagonally across the entire set of eight, seeking the dialogue with the shapes of the world surrounding it.

This set, to stay in the picture, would be an object entirely at ease in Capri’s Casa Malaparte for Godard’s Le Mepris, overlooking the Mediterranean, just like Jean-Francois Lanzetta did when he was a boy. There are not many of these around.

by Oliver Krug

Inhedited notebooks are available to buy here


About The Author

Oliver Krug is environmental editor at The Glass Magazine. His other topics include contemporary art, literature and photography, music, film and politics. As a travel writer he is interested in sustainability and ecology, and as a keen sailor aims to spend as much time on the water as on land. He is co-founder of Wavelength Foundation, an international circle of journalists, scientists, academics and cultural leaders who aim to advance the environmentalist agenda through the channels of arts and culture.

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