Home desks are experiencing a rebirth as technology becomes more compact, allowing the designs to excel reports FUNKE OSAE-BROWN
Chukwudinma was forced to move his office to his private residence a couple of months ago. He was forced to cut cost. He was in search of small desk that will fit properly into the little space he created in his Ikoyi home. “I was considering the space but what is more important is the functionality,” he tells me.
One might think that people’s desire in this digital age for smaller mobile devices would render the home desk to an item of old-fashioned irregularity in a domestic space. However, this is very untrue.
Bolu Adelagun, an interior designer, says people’s roving style of working in the digital age makes a desk essential at home because it helps focus them to focus. According to her, it is like an island that helps them connect their professional life within a family environment.
“Our clients all the time ask for several kinds of desks around the home so that they can use laptops and tablets in different rooms. We have just recently installed eight in a six-bedroom in Ikoyi. We installed in separate ‘his’ and ‘her’ studies, four bedrooms and a family room.”
For many interior designers, the key to a successful design lies in the marriage of craftsmanship and technology. “A home desk should be equally attractive from an artistic perspective as from a practical one,” says Seun Aderogba, an interior designer.
She says she once commissioned a bespoke desk with a solid-oak top and mirror-polished, stainless-steel base, modelled on tree branches for her client. According to her, the idea behind the piece is to offer the connectivity that the client needed while reflecting the relaxed environment of his country home in Ikenne Remo, Ogun State.
Some of newest designs of home desk include Lantau console made by OKA, a UK-based furniture designer. The console has a seal-grey faux-shagreen and wooden top and gold-leafed metal legs, was seamlessly integrated within a crisply styled living room for another client. It comes with fairly small surface but it’s a beautiful piece of furniture.
Far more spectacular is Stiletto desk created by British design studio, Splinter Works. This dramatic yet functional desk-table is hand-sculpted from French walnut with one leg resembling a stiletto shoe’s stacked heel.
According to Splinter Work’s co-founder Miles Hartwell the desk was originally made for a shoe-mad client. He also says Aviation inspired the firm’s piece Belgravia. The whining propeller blades are evoked by its timber X-shaped base, while its streamlined, leather-wrapped top is attractively faced with French burr walnut.
Truly, furniture as functional art must have found its apotheosis in desk design. Echoes of constructivism and futurism are reflected in some contemporary designs. For instance, Oxfordshire-based artist Jonathan Baring takes inspiration from the minimalist pieces made by the late American artist and sculptor Donald Judd in the 1960s.
Some contemporary desk designs take inspiration from minimalist philosophy. The simplicity these pieces and the exquisite way that they were put together makes them very alluring.
An example of minimalist inspired piece is the clean and slender, Baring’s Macassar-ebony piece which is hand-made with stainless-steel leather-lined drawers and a hidden wiring track and encil tray. This desk remains imposing any day. It is for people who still like to have a large desk to sit at comfortably. It feels empowering.
An interesting desk you may also want to consider for your home is an original art-deco design prompted the angled writing table by Rose Uniacke while art nouveau’s distinctive spirit pervades L’Orchidée, a one-off item by designer and maker Marc Fish, which won a coveted Bespoke Guild Mark from The Worshipful Company of Furniture Makers. This glamorous confection of ziricote, aluminium, oak and leather references Orchideés, a desk made by Louis Majorelle between 1905 and 1909 and now displayed at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris.
In a report by FT’s ‘How To Spend It’, Fish says his version which is beautifully handcrafted with a tambour roll-top symbolises the emotional and physical connection between a parent and child. “Its inspiration follows that passage of life – the cradling of a new generation, a new hope, the future,” says Sussex-based Fish. “It also reflects the journey of furniture-making from the art-nouveau movement into the art-deco period, culminating in the acceptance of technologies in materials, manufacture and techniques,” he tells ‘How To Spend It’.
Some other interesting desk to acquire is Ebony handcrafted in Macassar ebony and pearwood by Brian Newell. A sculptural Japanese aesthetic gently permeates the curvaceous piece.
Be that as it may, for contemporary designers, a desk is a very reassuring object, as well as an efficient workspace, and while people often prefer a design with minimal lines they still want it to look impressive.