A Perfect Desk
I saw these desks for the first time in a recent New York Times review. I am forever searching for a "better" system, a tidy, organized work space that looks and feels good...space for monitor and keyboard and tablet and notes and coffee mug and elbows...Currently I am using a beautiful table I inherited from my Grandmother. It is a gorgeous, simple piece in a Danish Modern or perhaps a Frank Lloyd Wright kind of way. Folded in half it is a perfectly square table; folded out, as I have it now and as my Grandma had it for years, it makes a generous work surface. It is oak, each half of the table veneered with slices from the same block of wood, grain perfectly aligned. The balance of thick table top and gracefully tapering legs is so pleasing.
One day, in another house, my Grandmother's table will be restored to its rightful place as a beloved kitchen table. The table was built in the mid-1930's for a "modern kitchen makeover" at her parents' New York City apartment. Both my Grandmother and her father worked for McCall's Magazine at different times, a perk being this opportunity to be the subject of a model makeover. This table is one of the few things that still exists from that project, 75 years ago. One would never guess it was that old, it's elegant modernism still seems so fresh and contemporary. But looking at the details, there is also a sense of the hand of the maker, much less common in contemporary furniture, and it is this that makes it most precious to me.
The Airia desk, which is contemporary, has a similar feeling in its thoughtful details and in the warmth of the wood. This desk has the advantage over my table of being designed as a desk...for contemporary times...An elevated platform for my monitor, cord management, drawer organizers...Heaven, in other words.
The Nelson Swag desk was designed in the late 1950's yet it seems to be meant for today's work space. I adore the colorful dividers and the light feeling of the whole thing. It looks like it would help keep work fun!
But I also know that no matter how "perfect" the desk—or how expensive or how well designed—the surface, if it is MY work space, will be a crowded, busy space with too many things going on at once. Don't get me wrong. I am a very organized person. But if I am working on something, I cannot put it away until I am finished with it. And when I am busy, there is no desk big enough to hold all of the work-in-process in a pretty way. Maybe what I need is a floor to ceiling horizontal filing system, with interchangeable desktops...open the drawer, pull all contents onto desktop...Or, perhaps, a fifty foot long table with "in" boxes across its full length...Or, I just accept the fact that my working life will always be defined by (organized) mounds of notes, files, drawings, concepts, covering every square inch of whatever surface I am using, and my coffee mug and elbows will always be compromised. Sigh.