The Guardian visits the London home of designer, artist and typographer Alan Kitching:
The rooms in Alan Kitching’s home are arranged like one of his letterpress prints. Some are stacked, some are wedged, some aren’t in the right place. One dominates, while others bow out. But each room, like each letter, makes an impact and has a purpose.
From the outside, it’s obvious this isn’t an ordinary home: three large, shop-style window panels showcase Kitching’s iconic prints – word-based images in big, bold type. A fourth is given over to local notices: jumble sales and student art shows. “That was Celia’s idea,” Kitching says. “She was more gregarious than me.” Celia Stothard, his late wife, bought the property 19 years ago. She chose it for its flexibility: a place for them to live and hold talks, exhibitions and performances. She was a designer and artist, too, as well as a jazz singer.
The building is a former alehouse in Kennington, south London, buttressed up against a courthouse (local folklore has it that Charlie Chaplin used to come here to fetch jugs of ale for his mother). Storage rooms cascade off the back of the ground floor, where Kitching runs the Typography Workshop, into a cellar crammed with his extensive, 19th-century type collection. Upstairs, a high-ceilinged mezzanine has a reading nook reachable only by the swivel of a library ladder.