Kai Brach

Founder of Offscreen magazine


Photography by Tim Lucas

Designer / Publisher / Minimalist
When I first emailed Kai asking him to be a part of this website, his exact words was: “I’d have to think about whether I can actually think of six items that I hold dear. I’m pretty anti-materialistic to be honest – well, as much as one can be living in the Western world – but I guess I’d be able to find six things. Not sure if they are all too exciting though.” Knowing Kai’s lifestyle of a minimalist, I knew the items he chose were going to be essential ones and nothing but quality.

Kai used to be a web designer, when at some point he realized that he wanted to create something more tangible. That’s when he stumbled upon the idea of Offscreen, although having had no prior experience working in print at all. Offscreen is an independent magazine that goes behind the scenes of entrepreneurs, designers, and developers to show what goes into the making of websites, applications, games, and the various technology products that we use on a day-to-day basis. Still in love with the web community but struggling with its fast pace and its transience, Kai become a proponent of the Slow Web (http://theslowweb.com/) (although, like everyone, he too struggles to implement it on a daily basis.) Putting transparency and accountability first, he openly shares everything he does on the Offscreen blog (http://blog.offscreenmag.com/).

Albeit acquiring a minimalist way of living, ironically he likes finding out about things he could own and that could make his work and life more just that much more efficient and enjoyable. That’s why he created The Modern Desk (http://themoderndesk.com/), a weekly newsletter about apps and accessories that make our days at the office more pleasant and productive.

Born in Germany but calling Melbourne his home, Kai spends a lot of time on planes, visiting his printer in Berlin and speaking at conferences about indie magazines. Kai mostly works from home, but a couple of days per week he heads to various shared offices in Melbourne. He takes joy in starting his mornings in one of the many cafe locations the lively city has to offer. “I need to keep moving!” And so he does: the one-man magazine publisher finds it difficult to not have an upcoming overseas trip on his calendar, so you might even find him at a conference near you. Head over to his magazine’s website (www.offscreenmag.com/about/) to stay up to date on his current journeys.

Patagonia Backpack


I love functional and compact backpacks that offer just enough convenience and space to carry the handful of things that make up my office. Besides my laptop, my backpack is one of the few things I use for extended periods of time every day, so I’m pretty picky about finding one that suits me. For many years I cherished my Incase backpack, but as I was doing research for my newsletter I stumbled upon this bag from Patagonia. Its size and its weather-resistant material are ideal for the daily commute, but also for the occasional hiking trip in the country. I also love what the brand itself stands for, leading the way with a great approach to corporate responsibility.

Shop Now$129

Handmade Ceramic Vase


My girlfriend bought this vase for me from the Cicada Market in Hua Hin, a beach town near Bangkok. I usually have a little offshoot of an indoor plant in it to give my desk a touch of green. Amidst all the digital things that make up my work day, there is something Wabi Sabi about this handmade vase as it serves as a nice reminder of the fact that nothing I make will ever be perfect or permanent.

Shop Now$50+

Wooden Phone Stand ‘Offscreen’


A year or so ago I had thirty of these customized wooden phone stands made as a gift to sponsors and exceptional supporters of my magazine. There is something really nice and almost therapeutic about having a raw piece of wood on your desk. It also functions as a stand for paper notebooks, postcards, invoices, and whatever else lands on my desk. At the very least, it reminds me of my lovely supporters without whom I couldn’t do what I do.

Shop Now$21

Meru Tera Pillow

Doing a lot of traveling and sitting in uncomfortable positions quickly hurts my lower back. I bought this self-inflating travel pillow as a lumbar support on my last trip to Germany and it makes traveling so much more bearable for me, especially on those twenty-two hours plane rides from Australia to Europe. I now carry it with me every time I step on a plane (or when I go camping). Germans definitely know how to make quality travel and outdoor gear.

Shop Now$14

Chemex Coffee Maker


I’m a big fan of coffee and there is no shortage of amazing cafes here in Melbourne (although I always try to distance myself from the overt coffee snobbery going on in this town). The Chemex – combined with quality, freshly ground coffee – made me appreciate the simplicity of filter coffee. The lengthy brewing process is a daily ritual and a big part of that appreciation for drinking coffee. I guess it’s comparable to cooking – it just tastes better when you made it yourself.

Shop Now$44



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