MacGuffin magazine joins Stack

by Grace Wang in August 2018
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Zooming in on one mundane yet infinitely enigmatic object, each issue of MacGuffin combines scrupulous research with design geekery to present a thick volume of illuminating, satisfying reading. Taking its name from the term coined by Alfred Hitchcock, ‘MacGuffin’ denotes a plot device that sets a chain of events into action.

From the humble bed to the unassuming window, editors Kirsten Algera and Ernst van der Hoeven, with the help of graphic designer Sandra Kassenaar, dig up exhaustive jumbles of historical tidbits, eccentric collectors, idiosyncratic artwork, and supremely affecting stories that orbit around their chosen subject. We’re very excited to welcome them to the Stack lineup of magazines.

Watch our video review of their latest issue, and find out more about the team in our conversation with the them about the ‘Rope’ edition. Then, hear from them in their own words in our podcast, or read on for their answers to our magazine questionnaire.

If you’re a Stack subscriber, you can look forward to receiving their next issue straight to your letterbox sometime in the near future. If you’re new to Stack, make sure to sign up and be one of the first people to admire their latest masterpiece (in an economical, hassle-free way, too.)


Kirsten Algera and Ernst van der Hoeven

Job title

Researchers, editors, art directors, writers, publishers, office managers, accountants.

What is MacGuffin?

MacGuffin is a biannual design and crafts magazine featuring fabulous stories about the life of ordinary things. Each edition uncovers the personal and sometimes curious relationships we have with the stuff that surrounds us.

MacGuffin Nº 6 is dedicated to the perfectly shaped object that is the dream of every visionary architect, but a source of great distress to the unsporty among us: the ball. With spinning ballboys, tumbling plants, rolling meatballs, bouncing planets, utopian bubbles, and the inventor of the smiley: Mr. Harvey Ball himself.

What makes it different to the rest?

(From the jury of the Stack Awards) “There’s a risk of sounding like a broken record when hailing the ongoing brilliant work of MacGuffin. The magazine is a delight to hold, to read, and to consider… Impeccable research and deep understanding of their theme permeate every section and story. There’s a familiarity, almost, but at once it’s so innovative.”

Who makes MacGuffin?

Kirsten Algera, Ernst van der Hoeven (editors) and Sandra Kassenaar (graphic designer) with contributions from a range of writers, photographers, users, scientists, designers, historians, architects, artists, philosophers and amateur experts.

Who reads it?

When we started we wanted – quite ambitiously – to make a magazine that is not aimed at certain readers, but defines its own readership. In a way we succeeded in that; we have a very broad readership that is young but hard to define — from design and indie magazine aficionados to research and short story addicts.

Why are you making a magazine?

We thought it would be the best way to create layers of text and images that tell the stories we wanted to tell. Like a portable exhibition that you can keep and carry with you.

Aside from the print magazine, what else are you involved in?

MacGuffin is involved in projects that revolve around the magazine’s themes: from exhibitions to education, from workshops to field trips.

What would you change about MacGuffin if you could?


Where do you see MacGuffin in five years?

We hope MacGuffin will be a verb — “During my holiday I MacGuffinned the perfect MacGuffin…”

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