Words: Thomas Wensma
Publication: SOLO Magazine 6
Published: May 2021


When I talk to Thorsten, he sits in his apartment, where he lives with his girlfriend and their three children. The bright looking space is light and its design feels thoroughly considered. In front of their sofa, a wooden coffee table is stacked with magazines, ready to be picked up and read whilst enjoying a cup of coffee. The apartment is a clear nexus of design and analog experience, a place where visual design is intertwined with the tactility of printed paper and vinyl records. With magazines always in sight, the smell of ink is only surpassed by that of fresh coffee.

Back in 2014 when Public Coffee Roasters opened their first shop in Hamburg, Germany, they asked Keller if he would like to put a magazine rack into their new café, and curate a selection of magazines for their customers to read and buy. At the time Keller was working as a freelance designer, but his love for magazines and the once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity made him say yes. It marked the official start for Coffee Table Mags. Keller's interest for magazines came even before starting his professional career. At the age of 12, he created his first school paper, which was followed by several more — the last one even winning several prices. Subsequently, he and a good friend [who was part of the school paper] tried turning the award winning school paper into a youth magazine, but in the end failed due to high printing costs. His love for print magazines survived though, making him spend his money on buying magazines at Doyoureadme?! and shops at the bigger train stations. Now running his own magazine shop, he is his own best customer; "our apartment is slowly bursting at the seams from all the magazines," Keller jokes.

Originally, he wanted to open a physical independent magazine shop, while also offering specialty coffee — like a café with a lot of magazines. "But I never had the courage to do so," he says. After his start at Public Coffee Roasters and overcoming some bumps in the road throughout the years, Coffee Table Mags is now a full time business, that includes a successful online shop.