The Moleskine Foundation (formerly lettera27), in 10 years of activities since 2006, has built a collection of ‘art notebooks’, unique pieces of work created by different artists and thinkers on Moleskine notebooks and donated to the Foundation to help support its mission. The collection reflects the variety, wealth and complexity of contemporary creative thinking. Artists, designers, architects as well as musicians, film makers, illustrators, intellectuals and philosophers have enriched the collection, filling the notebook, page after page, with their thoughts, sketches, images, often transforming it into a completely different artefact, maintaining the soul and the essence. In the extreme cases the only thing left of the notebook is the skin, in other cases it has been absorbed into the work of art, it has been burnt, torn apart, rebuilt, regenerated. The notebook is the device, the limit, the origin.

The main objectives are:

  • To preserve, develop, promote and exhibit online and offline the biggest collection of the artists’ notebooks of our times.
  • To promote the talent of each participant to the projects that foster the collection and to disseminate the culture of sharing and gifting that distinguishes it.
  • To contribute significantly to the fundraising of the Foundation through the loans, initiatives and events that can make the most of its attractive potential.

The collection has started with the Detour and myDetour projects in 2006 and has grown exponentially during the last years.

Since 2010 the AtWork initiative also contributes to the collection’s growth.

Currently the collection holds more than 1,000 pieces and is divided into 3 archives:

  1. Detour – notebooks produced by acclaimed authors and displayed within the Detour exhibitions by Moleskine.
  2.  myDetour – notebooks produced by general public focused around Detour project and various other initiatives (i.e. Parson’s Jam NY, The Undiscovered letter, North is up, Mapping Contemporary Venice, Moleskinabile 2013-2014, ISKO 2014/2015 edition).
  3. AtWork – notebooks created by artists invited to contribute to the collection as well as students and young creative talents (AtWorkers) as an output of the AtWork educational format.


Detour is a small piece of the Moleskine journey, where interlacing stories merge. Curated by Raffaella Guidobono, this travelling group show features notebook creations by internationally recognized artists, architects, film directors, graphic designers, illustrators, and writers. Some works contain extensive stories; others are turned into pieces of contemporary art and design.

Detour events have already taken place in London (2006), New York (2007), Paris (2008), Berlin (2008), Istanbul (Spring 2009), Tokyo (Fall 2009), Venice (Summer 2010), Shanghai (Fall 2010) and Beijing (2013).

Browse the notebooks on the Detour Video Gallery.


myDetour is a Moleskine project dedicated to all lovers of painting, photography, illustration and writing. It is an opportunity to share your creative experience, on- and off-line: you decorate your Moleskine notebook, drop it in the myDetour collection boxes and participate in the selections. The Jury will choose the most inventive notebooks collected in each city, which will be showcased in the next stop and be published on the online gallery. The author of the one single most remarkable notebook for each city is invited to the next opening event.

myDetour installations often run alongside the Detour project, a travelling collection of notebooks by authors of international renown.

Visit the myDetour Galleries: Venice 2012, Shanghai, Venice 2010, Tokyo, San Francisco, Istanbul, Berlin, Paris, New York, 5×5 Dakar.


AtWork is an itinerant educational format, conceived by lettera27 (today Moleskine Foundation) and Simon Njami, that uses the creative process to stimulate critical thinking and debate among the participants. It contributes to build a new generation of thinkers.
The key element of AtWork is a workshop conducted by an artist or a curator on the chosen topic. The topic stimulates the collective discussion and a personal self-reflection on issues such as identity, culture, community, etc.
As a final output of the workshop each student produces a personalized notebook, which fixes the process of self- reflection triggered by the workshop. Each notebook takes on its own character and is the reflection of a thought at work.
The produced notebooks are exhibited in an art show, co- curated by the students themselves.
The donated notebooks become part of the collection.
All the workshop participants become part of the AtWork Community, a group of international artists, students, curators, cultural organizations, intellectuals, who believe that art can be a tool for social transformation.
Visite the website: www.at-work.org


Online Catalogue curated by: Raffaella Carillo, Federica Vero, Rossella Zanelli
Ph: Edit 4 for Detour; Federica Vero for myDetour; Zetalab for AtWork and Detour