The Twofold for the Mueller furniture workshop is a minimalist folding desk. Photo: Mueller/dpa
The coronavirus crisis will likely change the way we work forever. Home office could increasingly become an option for many more employees – that’s because both employers and staff are realising that it actually works quite well.
For example, while in Germany, normally about 12% of all employees work from home, the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW) sees the potential for up to 40% of Germans working in a home office.
Modern technology makes this possible for many professions. However, that makes it all the more important for people to set boundaries between their private and professional lives at home.
To do so, they should set up a distinct work space – either in a separate room or in a corner of the living room.
Twofold from the Mueller furniture factory can be transformed into a secretary by folding down a wooden shelf from the bookcase thanks to a rotating mechanism. Photo Mueller/dpa
Desks no longer have to be big
This also includes a desk that adapts to the spatial requirements on the one hand, and fulfils its practical purpose on the other.
The good news is that since computers have become smaller and smaller in recent years, and smartphones have replaced landlines, a desk no longer has to take up too much space.
One example of a space-saving desk are flat wall models such as the Twofold, designed by Michael Hilgers, and the Workout by Murken Hansen (both for the Mueller furniture workshop).
The desks are basically shelves: The Twofold can be converted into a secretary (desk) by folding down a wooden shelf. And with the Workout, the top panel can be adjusted in height so that you can work either sitting or standing – storage space included.
Like a painting on the wall
A filigree steel frame on the wall for an MDF board: This minimalist piece is the Rail Desk by Keiji Ashizawa for the Danish label Menu. Photo: Menu/dpa
Meanwhile Paolo Lucidi and Luca Pevere have designed a desk for Ligne Roset that at first glance is not recognisable as a secretary.
Stendhal is a reference to the French painter Pierre Soulages and his so-called “outrenoir” paintings.
The Italian designers have created a piece of furniture 175cm high, but only 16.5cm deep, which seems to hang on the wall like a painting. The dark walnut veneer body has two doors that can be covered with fabric or painted if you don’t like the look of the outrenoir images.
Inside, there are various shelves and compartments and a fold-out computer shelf.
“We wanted to design something for small rooms, ” says Pevere. “Since space is at a premium in cities, the idea for this desk was to make it compact.”
Those looking for extreme minimalism may like Keiji Ashizawa’s Rail Desk for the Danish label Menu. The Tokyo-based designer has based his design on the typically small living space in the mega-metropolis and the typical Japanese aesthetic.
A filigree steel frame, which is fixed to the wall, serves as a support for an MDF (medium density fibre) board with oak veneer. Since the design can be hung on the wall at any height, it is not limited to use as a desk, but can also be used as a shelf.
“It was important for me to emphasise the lightness of the design by combining the two materials, ” says Ashizawa.
Minimalist design, but with foot rest
The desk named Myself + I by Garth Roberts for the label Dante Goods and Bads is designed in a semi-oval shape and is softly upholstered with leather. Photo: Goods and Bads/dpa
The S1200 secretary from Thonet goes in a similar direction. The designer Randolf Schott was inspired by classic Bauhaus furniture.
The compact table is made of a tubular steel frame that can be easily placed even in narrow hallways and niches. And it has a special extra feature: A foot rest ensures a relaxed sitting position.
In contrast, the desk named Myself + I by Garth Roberts for the label Dante Goods and Bads has an almost mundane appearance.
It is not only semi-oval in design, but also softly upholstered with leather. A screen provides privacy and creates a separate room for the worker.
Meanwhile String Furniture has designed an extensive office furniture range under the name Works, which includes shelving systems, mobile containers and a height-adjustable desk.
It enables ergonomic working in both a sitting and standing position, and there are also panels that provide privacy and block out sound.