Readers of Tyler Brûlé’s column in the weekend edition of the Financial Times, which for the uninitiated documents the travails of a life spent jet-setting around the globe, will know that a frequent target is the poor state of newspaper and magazine retailing in the UK.
One target has long been WH Smith. Specifically, its poorly lit and understaffed shops, the ill-targeted special offers, the self-scan check-outs and, in the case of its Heathrow branches, its parochial selection of newspapers and magazines.
Tyler Brûlé is not someone who isn’t afraid to put his money where his mouth is, nor to challenge convention.
Having long argued that print media is not dead, in 2007 Tyler Brûlé founded the magazine Monocle. As well as being a commercial and editorial success it eschews social media, does not carry out any research, charges more than the magazine cover price for a subscription and double the cover price for back issues.
Monocle has since extended its reach to shops, a cafe at 18 Chiltern Street London, and a 24 hour radio station, Monocle 24.
Tyler Brûlé is also the founder of the design agency Winkreative which designed the original brand identity of Swiss International Airlines, Porter Airlines, the cabin interior of British Airways Club World on Boeing 747-400 and 777-200 aircraft and the recently launched Union Pearson Express in Toronto.
The latest venture from Winkreative’s parent company, is the Kioskafé which opened in the past week at 31 Norfolk Place, opposite the Frontline Club and a short walk from London Paddington railway and Underground stations.
The Kioskafé is based on the concept of a coffee bar and the newspaper kiosk that you’re more likely to find in the cities of mainland Europe than the UK.
It’s a relatively small shop, at just under 80m2. The cafe menu is very modest. The coffee is good but food options are very limited. There are up to 300 magazine and daily newspaper titles on offer – all laid out in an attractive and orderly manner.
As is to be expected the fit out of the Kioskafé is of a high quality with solid oak flooring and the small, but sturdy, collection of outdoor furniture has been sourced from Switzerland. Wherever you look, there is a clear sign of care and attention to detail.
One noteworthy service is a “print on demand” international newspaper service featuring more than 120 international newspapers. This is a service we have long wondered why airlines have not offered in their lounges.
The Kioskafé’s founders have ambitions to extend the concept globally through organic expansion and franchising so further branches may appear at railway stations, airports and city streets around the world.
The Kioskafé is located at 31 Norfolk Place and is open daily from 7am to 7pm.