“There was just nowhere in Munich to find international magazines and design books together in a nice surrounding,” recalls Sebastian Steinacker, standing among the white shelving and wooden workbenches of his new HQ.
Traumatised by icy assistants in fine-art bookshops and station newsstands, the duo envisaged something simpler, more accessible and – like its name – a whole lot more chilled. So Steinacker and his girlfriend Anna Schäffel launched Soda Books in 2004.
“I first got hooked on books and magazines when I studied fashion at Central Saint Martins in London,” says Steinacker, “and when I came back to Munich, I wanted to open something that had the feel of shops such as Zwemmers and Magma.”
So successful has their mission proved that last month Soda outgrew its old home and moved to much larger premises in a different part of Gärtnerplatzviertel, Munich’s creative hub of advertising agencies, fashion colleges, architects and designers – all of whom, natürlich, comprise Soda’s core clientele. “Our customers are professionals from all areas of design, so they all work with the stuff we sell,” says Steinacker.
Publications in several languages are sold but it’s English that dominates. “They’re almost all image-led anyway,” says Steinacker, “so it doesn’t really matter which language they’re in. In fact, I think German books are in the minority.” Again, the well-curated stock of design and style magazines are an international mix of mainly English, French, Italian and Japanese.
Steinacker’s current favourites include the Dutch interiors magazine Frame and a book called The Encyclopedia of Sushi Rolls, by Ken Kawasumi, an eccentric Japanese chef who creates sushi containing little images of pandas, proving that when you specialise, there’s a space for everything.
3 Rumfordstrasse, 80469 Munich; + 49 89 2024 5353, sodabooks.com
Soda’s best-selling magazines
Frame — interior design, Amsterdam
Huge — men’s fashion, Japan
Lodown — urban culture and art, Berlin
Intersection — cars and culture, London
Juxtapoz — art and culture, US
Purple fashion — fashion, Paris
Paradis – men’s fashion and culture, Paris
Qvest Edition – fashion and culture, Berlin
Fantastic Man – men’s fashion, Amsterdam
Androgyny – fashion and culture, London
Mark – architecture, Amsterdam
And, finally, he recommends Monocle