The School of Life - Birthplaces of the Great Ideas

Atelier 10

A booklet of 20 detachable postcards featuring the birthplaces of ideas that helped to shape the world.

The history of ideas is chiefly told to us through books. We therefore forget that the world’s big ideas were also hatched in particular places: Virginia Woolf thought up the idea of a ‘room of her own’ in her study in Sussex (which had a window overlooking a delightful rose garden), Marcel Proust thought up his theories on travel in the Gare du Nord in Paris, Edward Hopper discovered modern loneliness in a particular American diner…

Instead of providing geographical information about places around the world, this set of cards pursues the less familiar, but perhaps more important, task of exploring the intriguing and meaningful ideas that particular places gave rise to.

Example postcard:


It can be a shock to find that Sigmund Freud – the explorer of the unconscious mind, who pioneered the investigation of the wilder, less acceptable aspects of ourselves – lived and worked in a most conventional building in a thoroughly respectable street. In this place, Freud felt safe and secure enough to take remarkable risks, and to invite us to examine a picture of ourselves which was – and remains – unsettling. This is a place to learn a significant lesson: that comfort and dignity need not be the enemies of originality and courageous enquiry.

20 postcards with cover | 148 x 105 mm