Raštinė Café / Let‘s Have a Coffee and a Pencil

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Café is a place where you can get a cup of coffee. A sandwich, croissant or a cheesecake. Simple as that. But some cafés are not just cafés. They cross the boundaries and break the usual definitions. Such a place just opened its doors in Vilnius. Welcome to Raštinė, a café and a stationery store in one. 

by BARBORA GEDVILAITE
photographer DARIUS MARKUNAS

“Abstraction is what easily excites my curiosity. Whether it‘s a painting or a way I arrange my jewellery. They both can equally blow my mind. When the traditional representation of the objects is broken the fascination starts. Therefore, when I noticed stationery items arranged in an unusual, abstract way I knew I had to meet these people who made it happen. This is how this story starts.“

Before the interview we agreed with the owners of Raštinė – Saulius & Ieva – I will not bother them with how-did-you-come-up-with-this-idea kind of questions. Anyhow, regular introduction is still needed.

Saulius Saltenis used to work as a postman, a bartender, a guide and Italian teacher. All this happened while he was studying in Italy. He has graduated from school and university there. After he returned to Lithuania, with friends he started his own catering business and established a chain called Pietausim. Now it‘s Raštinė’s time.

Ieva Saltene is very stable on her career path. She is an architect and an interior designer. Also she is one of the founders of the Open House Vilnius project and many other educational architecture-related projects. Now she is dividing her time between her two newborns – their one-year-old son and Raštinė.  

The old saying goes, “Tell me what your favourite stationery item is and I‘ll tell who you are”.

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Ieva: My choice today is this big notebook. It goes not only with my style but also with my personality. It has a hard black cover, looks solid. However, it is full of freedom and light inside.  

Saulius: Legendary blue stapler Klizia by Ellepi. This handheld stapler is made in Italy and looks like a cute little whale. Moreover, it has been used for decades in various public institutions in Italy. Its inventor Oscar Lepre began this brand in 1977. It perfectly represents who I am. At least today. 

Since you both call yourselves maniacs of the stationery, I bet you love writing things down. Reveal us how does your To Do List for this autumn look like? 

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Ieva: As my list contains three quite abstract goals (except finding the kindergarten), it‘s obvious that I‘m not a planning-and-writing-down kind of person. I hate making any kind of resolutions. My plans and goals are usually pretty much the same – to learn something new or to find more time for reading. Dealing with the issues that come up when they come up is my kind of thinking. 

Saulius: My list is a bit longer. I‘m very enthusiastic about the things I love. I don‘t need any lists for these things. When it comes to running the business, I need to write things down in order to get them done. What a pleasure it is to strike them off when they are done.   

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 Highlighting memorable lines in the books. Do you do that?

Saulius: I love collecting quotes. One of my favourite is a famous quote by Greg LeMan: “It never gets easier, you just go faster”. I found it on a website for the cyclists Velominati. It seems so relevant to me, not only in sports but in life as well. During my studies, I used to think about this glorious moment when I will find a decent, well-paid job. Then everything will be easy, I thought. Guess what? I returned to Lithuania, found that job and got bored. Thereafter, I started looking for more challenges. And more. Finally, I realized that this is life. It never gets easier. Yet it‘s fun.

Also, I can easily tell what is my favourite book. It’s ‘Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy‘ by Douglas Adams. This book is hilarious. Each and every line of it.  

If you could rewrite one of the chapters of your life which one would it be? 

Ieva & Saulius: Two years ago we went together to this amazing trip across Europe. We were travelling from the North of Europe to the South by our DIY kind of camper. Basically it was a bed on the wheels. We keep thinking (and discussing) that maybe we should have made a bit more out of this trip. More joy, more pleasure. Now it seems like we took it for granted. Maybe we should rewrite or better repeat it? 

 

You are going to an uninhabited island and each of you is allowed to take three stationery items form your store. 

Ieva: Firstly, I am taking a book ‘History of pictures‘ by David Hockney and Martin Gayford. This book takes the readers on an adventure through the history of art, and it is all filtered through the perspective of these two great minds. I can‘t find time to read this book, therefore, I‘m taking it to the uninhabited island.  Second item is a One Year Diary for my thoughts and adventures. The last item, of course, is a pencil.

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Saulius: Someone has to be rational here. Thus, I am taking scissors and a folding knife with me. Matcha tea, so that we have something to enjoy.

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Let‘s get back from the island. Where is the farthest you have gone for the stationery?

Ieva & Saulius: We do not specifically travel for stationery. Although we do not miss a chance to visit as many stationery stores as we can while travelling. Besides, we can hardly pass by a bookshop or a library. Once we have somehow managed to spent a whole day in Waterstones bookshop in London. 

Nevertheless, our work gives us an opportunity to travel to the farthest places online. For example, we have suppliers in such countries as Japan. By the way, one of our Japanese partners decided to come to visit us after he saw pictures of Raštinė.  

What are your guilty pleasures related to stationery? 

Ieva: When I was a child I used to draw moustaches on the faces in the newspapers. My grandparents were not very happy about it. 

Saulius: I still love doing it! Ieva’s magazines are the ones that I most frequently decorate. Of course, I do not draw in Kinfolk. Basically, Lithuanian magazines only.  

Ieva: One more thing about me. I loooove to align things. On the table, in the room. Everywhere! Maybe it‘s some kind of architectural approach. Also all my stuff at home is packed into the boxes. And these boxes into the bigger ones. 

Is there anything that annoys you other people do with stationery?

Saulius: There are some strangers that can go through all the books and notebooks in the store and do a quick page flipping to every item. I can‘t understand why they do that. It hurts me even watching it. What on earth can you see in the book or notebook by doing this? 

Instead of conclusion. Create your abstraction for the Abstract Stylist

 
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