ARKADEMIE began as a humble pursuit to hand-made design journals and sketchbooks for personal use. Being an interior and furniture designer and a design educator for over 25 years, James Lee, founder of the company, has always documented the process of design through journaling with drawings, sketches and written texts. But most design notebooks and journals do not last long enough to be kept for the entire creative periods of their users. Design and artistic contents deposited in journals and sketchbooks become valuable over time as the designer- or artist-user grows and matures in practice. Journals and sketchbooks should last a lifetime and beyond the creative lives of the users - a testimony of their creative journeys and experiences.
As a designer, James has kept a collection of over thirty design journals over nearly two decades of practice, and unfortunately many have begun depreciating in structure, resolution and are disintegrating rapidly. Lamenting over the state of his design journals and out of necessity, James started creating for himself design journals with natural leather covers and premium drawing papers for the purpose of preserving creative design and artistic contents.
These journals and sketchbooks would eventually become heirloom and heritage to be handed down to younger generations of design practitioners.
Natural full-grained vegetable-tanned leather, being a naturally processed material, is durable, flexible and beautiful to be used as journal covers as well as many implements and accessories. Over time, James began designing and handcrafting a myriad of leather goods specially for the creative professionals, while maintaining a focus on understated and timeless aesthetics, clear functionality and durability.
As the collection grew, ARKADEMIE was established and had collaborated with leather-craft and book-binding artisans to bring leather journals, sketchbooks, implements and accessories into this market of discerning professionals.