Strap yourself in for our
jet-propelled new issue.
Soft landing guaranteed
Rich Brilliant Willing / Rich Brilliant Willing
American design outfit Rich Brilliant Willing deserves the spotlight once again for its satisfyingly minimal new 'Radient' table lamp. Casting a soft glow over a tabletop, the lamp has been fashioned out of metal and wood in the company's Manhattan studio.
Patrick Frey / Richard Lampert
We're no strangers to just a little creative clutter about the place. But with its clean lines and clearly defined structure, Patrick Frey's 'Stak' offers a more utopian ideal that we are now one step closer to achieving. The modular storage system comes in a palette of sophisticated colours, from neutrals to yellow and even pink. Available in various sizes, the slender steel containers, trays and trolleys slide simply into each other and can be installed with doors and drawers for greater discretion.
Asaf Weinbroom Studio / Asaf Weinbroom Studio
Asaf Weinbroom's architectural desk lamp is one thing we wouldn't mind staying up into the small hours with. The Tel Aviv-based lighting designer's newest collection, Braa, is a creative juxtaposition of materials. Weinbroom, who predominantly works with wood, has used sand-blasted brass tubes, and details in Corian and Formica, to give the underpinning maple features an added touch of luxury. The full range also includes a linear ceiling lamp and several tabletop versions.
Bruno Serrão / Wewood
Conceived as a compact work station, this desk embodies what we demand most from a work environment: a world of creative possibilities. Hidden under its smooth surface are eight drawers and compartments of various sizes for storing each and every work-related accoutrement. Designed by Bruno Serrão and skillfully produced from solid French oak by young Portuguese joinery company Wewood - without the use of any screws or nails - this is one hard worker.
GamFratesi / Danish Crafts
We spotted this lovely specimen of an office chair among the exhibits at 'Mindcraft', Danish Crafts' annual ode to Danish design, which pairs the country's most exciting design talents and its established manufacturers to great effect. With its wiry legs on castors, the quirky 'Beetle' by multidisciplinary studio GamFratesi loyally references the anatomy of its entomological inspiration while still embodying Denmark's unmistakable, fuss-free sensibility. Comfortably upholstered and easily stackable, it's one bug we'd welcome into our office.
David Weatherhead / Thorsten Van Elten
Originally designed in a limited edition for an exhibition at Goodd called ‘A product of Geometry’, these wall clocks explore a sense of the primary, essential and formal in object design. With echoes of Bauhaus, road safety signs, and the back reflectors on a trailer, the elegant Douglas fir clocks have – of course - the added bonus of telling the time.
Jake Dyson / Jake Dyson
Jake Dyson has cornered a niche for highly-engineered wall and floor lights, and the latest addition to his stable brings his meticulous attention to detail to deskwork too. In the design of the LED task light - available in black, white, blue, red and grey - Dyson has applied precision design to the control of heat, durability, colour and light distribution. Introducing an efficient cooling system to make the LED bulbs last even longer than they already do, the eco-credentials of the lamp give us an inner glow as well as lighting up our paperwork.
Amy Hunting / Amy Hunting
London-based Norwegian rising design star Amy Hunting uses an unusual combination of Douglas fir, 100% wool, solid brass and gravity for her collection of made-to-order storage boxes and tables. The hanging storage compartment is strengthened by the weight placed inside. The knock down construction is held together by solid brass nuts and bolts, and with the odd shapes of wood left over, Hunting has also made a series of bold blue book ends.
Jonah Takagi / Atelier Takagi
Jonah Takagi's work combines rigorous technical skill with an instinctive feel for the absurd. The results, like this lamp which looks like the offspring of a welding torch and a stethoscope, are both quirky and practical. Its 'big bounce', or reflected light, is provied by a disc that hovers above the light aperture.
Sebastian Bergne / Atelier d'exercices
Perpetual calenders are tricky things to design in part because you have to incorporate disparate elements and various date combinations in a cohesive whole and in a way that doesn't require a degree in advanced maths to read. Resembling a deconstructed astrolab, London-based designer Sebastian Bergne's 'Calendrier Ring' achieves the goal most admirably with just three interlocking circles. Dates are marked simply by lining up the relevant circle to a central rod that acts as both a hinge and date marker. In the Calendrier, Bergne, whose works have shown at the Pompidou and the Museum of Modern Art has created a calendar that will never date.
Nika Zupanc / Nika Zupanc
price on request
We first spotted this chair and table at Spazio Rossana Orlandi during the recent Salone del Mobile in Milan. Amidst the frenzy of the week's exhibitions and shows, Nika Zupanc's pared back designs were a calming balm. We were particularly taken by the sinuous curves of the desk chair whose slender legs balanced on brass wheels. This charming nostalgic touch is replicated in the desk, a modern yet extraordinarily rationale interpretation of the traditional roll top desk. What appears at first glance to be a standard flat top table unlatches and lifts to reveal pleated concertina folds that act as shelving. Drop the lid and all your paperwork is hidden away. The proverbial messy desk just became a thing of the past.
Studio Job / Lensvelt
There's a cheerful Alice in Wonderland quality about this series of cupboards by Studio Job for Dutch office furniture retailer Lensvelt. Available in 13 exuberant colours, including a pinkish white and radiant yellow, these cupboards will brighten even the most dour of office spaces. Job Smeets and Nynke Tynagel, the chief designers at the Antwerp and Netherlands-based Studio Job, say their design reflects the fact that offices are looking more and more like home. Which explains the quirky touches such as the oversized bronze key and flexible shelving system. The result, say the Dutch duo, is a storage solution that is a 'perfect symbiosis between industrial mass production and the personal object'.
Laure Gremion / Alessi / ECAL
price on application
It's never a good idea, especially in an office setting, to be caught watching the clock, but it's difficult not to make an exception with Laure Gremion's hypnotic Volta; the dizzying pattern is created by the movement of the second hand against a circular face spoked with 60 radiating lines. The result is, dare we say it, a timely reimagining of a quotidian object but executed with a quiet intelligence and restraint that bodes well for Germion's future. More so because the Volta is part of an imaginative series of desk and office accessories designed for Alessi by Germion and her fellow second year students in the industrial design bachelor programme at ECAL. For now, the Volta exists only as a prototype, but be assured we're barracking for its eventual production.
Johannes Herbertsson and Karl Henrik Rennstam / RVW
Here it is - proof that design really does make a difference in our lives. This modular shelving system from Johannes Hertsson and Karl Henrik Rennstarn is easily detachable and requires no fittings - rendering Sunday afternoon DIY sessions quarrel-free. The T-shaped design references the language of grids and allows for various compositions.
Tomàs Kràl and Camille Blin / Okolo
Serial mislayers of writing implements can now keep their pens and pencils safely stored within the stylish locked jaws of the Pen Monster. Tomàs Kràl and Camille Blin came up with this wooden container after visiting the woodworking shop of Joseph Miele, where they were inspired by an avertical shaper. Each fiendish tooth encloses around a writing utensil, while a black screw on top locks them in place.
Claesson Koivisto Rune / Wästberg
A bright example of an all-Swedish collaboration between young lighting company Wästberg, forestry group Söödra and architects Claesson Koivisto Rune, this design is made from a cast iron base and DuraPulp, an entirely renewable, entirely biodegradable paper pulp-based new material. Lighting is from integrated LEDs.
Vincent Van Duysen / Pastoe
It's astonishing how some designers are even able to reinvent the box. Vincent Van Duysen's 'Totem', for Dutch manufacturer Pastoe, is a modular square tower made up of boxes that all turn independently of each other and can be individually customised by colour, finish, height and even the number of shelves within each one.
Bram Boo / Bram Boo
Price on request
A messy desk is often seen as a positive – the sign of an independent, creative mind. However, even those of a more orderly, logical bent need no longer come across as anything less than entirely left-brained: Bram Boo’s ‘Overdose’ desk tidy shows it is possible to fake a haphazard filing system in the most pristine work space.
Markus Schmidt / Zeitraum
Manufactured by hardwood specialists Zeitraum, the 'Secret' desk is so called because of its discreet storage capacity: lift-up panels at the back provide a secure hideaway for a laptop, cables and a pencil or two. Made from sturdy solid oak, cherry or walnut, the design is pleasingly academic.
As if in vindication of the 'Quietly Brilliant' tag line, HTC's Legend is a pocket sized piece of technological innovation. Integrating all the data streams we generate into one navigable interface, the Legend is milled from one solid lump of aluminum and comes complete with an OLED screen - providing superior colour quality and depth. With a ringer which pipes down once the phone has been picked up; an online widget library and pinch-to-zoom controls, the Legend's quiet brilliance is plain to see.
Satisfying our pleasure for playing with packaging, the small French company Adonde has created a cardboard box set of desktop elements that are part 3-d puzzle, part practical storage for your stationery.
RMK design /
RMK has launched a soberingly simple range of modular desktop helpers. Made from unfinished, unvarnished, solid beech, the pencil blocks, containers, cardholders and trays can be used in any combination to accommodate as much stationery as you like to hoard.
BVD / Askul
The match made in designer-retail heaven of Swedish company BVD and Japanese store Askul continues apace. The latest offering is this simple office clock, which instead of highlighting the usual 12, 3, 6 and 9, picks out the most important hours in a working day - 9 when people get to work, 12, when they take lunch and 5, when they leave.
Matali Crasset / Established & Sons
True to its name Matali Crasset's Open Room is like a whole room without walls. With more than a touch of Mondrian about it, the design is part workspace, part colourful cubist sculpture and a beautiful if unusual option for the home office.
Bertjan Pot / Arco
Bertjan Pot's beautifully pared down 'Slim' office is made from oak veneer on steel, which not only makes for a deceptively robust surface, but means the entire range is magnetic too - handy for keeping all your paperclips together and off the floor.
Nobukuni Tsuboi / 100 Percent
Price awaiting confirmation
It adds up that an object you touch frequently should be as tactile as possible and hence this beautiful number is made of rubber. Tsuboi claims he chose rubber as the material for purposes of grip, so you can do your sums using one hand, but we have a feeling it's to prevent your calculator from crashing if it falls foul of a desktop spillage.
The Camus desk by Armani/Casa is a particularly seductive, luxurious piece of furniture for getting down to business. The whole desk is clad in lizard skin and unfolds to reveal a hand-finished rosewood interior.
Konstantin Grcic / Magis
Konstantin Grcic’s 360 swivel stool might look a little unwieldy and perhaps difficult to keep one’s balance on when whizzing at speed across a room. But the very basic form, like a cubist sculpture, is actually very practical, not to mention comfortable and, as office chairs go, liberating, without any expanse of seat or armrest to feel hemmed in by.
This light is an honest and friendly antidote to the usual industrial and rigorous desk lamps. Honest because it doesn't get more honest than untreated raw wood with every knot, nail and screw on show. Friendly because it's beautifully simple, with plenty of personality and, like all our friends, effortless good looks.
Mikko Laakkonen / Casamania
The metal waste paper bin doubles up as a magazine rack and comes in three detachable panels, with interchangeable colours depending on your mood or scheme.
Jean-Marie Massaud / MDF Italia
price awaiting confirmation
Jean Marie Massaud’s Flow chair for MDF Italia is a chair that means business in the most gentlemanly manner possible. A hard outer shell with a soft inside (like all the best businessmen) it can be sturdy and supportive or laid back and relaxed depending on your mood and the four oak legs will keep you firmly grounded at all times. And of course, this being MDF Italia, every element is exquisitely finished.
Inga Sempe / Moustache
The launch of a new French company, Moustache, was one of the big talking points at Salone 2009. The pieces, each by French designers, were just a little bit different, using novel inspiration, forms or materials and all had a distinct character – decidedly French you could say. The concertina storage units by Inga Sempe were a quieter, less showy highlight. Beautifully finished and not awkward as concertina mechanisms can sometimes be, the modular boxes would add a playful element to a home office.
Air Design / Air Design Group
Given the levels of humidity you’d expect a Singaporean company to know a thing or two about good fans. Air Design clearly does, propelling a less is more aesthetic with this portable design. Enormous fans themselves of the German superstar, Air Design named this product after Dieter Rams and we’re confident he’d approve – the fan is as quiet on the eyes as it is on the ears.
Konstantin Grcic / Muji
An unexpected but very genius pairing between historic German manufacturers Thonet and Japanese lifestyle retailers Muji resulted in a range of furniture manufactured by Thonet and sold through Muji. James Irvine (Thonet’s Creative Director) reinterpreted the bentwood chairs and Konstantin Grcic has taken up Marcel Breuer’s tubular steel mantel, creating this austere Bauhaus desk with dark grey MDF top and suspended drawers. Complete the look with a Type 75 anglepoise a charcoal Muji notebook and a sharp HB pencil.
Singgih Susilo Kartono / My Amenity
€45 a set
Hot on the heels of his award-winning wooden radios, Indonesian designer Singgih Susilo Kartono has taken desktops to task, designing a range of office accessories in his trademark Mahogany and Sonokeling wood combination. Finished by hand the four-piece collection (comprising tape dispenser, stapler, letter opener and letter tray) bears the same hallmark charm of their radio predecessors.
Erik Magnussen / Porcelight
Stumbling upon a good task light is the working man’s equivalent of finding a new friend, and Erik Magnussen’s creation for Porcelight is one of the best desk companions on the market. The robust simplicity of the structure contrasts beautifully with the delicacy of the porcelain shade and the soft light it emits.
Kaiju Studios / Herman Miller
Rhode Island-based Kaiju studios seek to bring practicality back to the home office with their Airia desk for Herman Miller. Feeling that too many table and desk designs of late have scrimped on function in favour of an elegant aesthetic, the designers wanted to redress the balance by providing options. “The elevated rear surface could be a place to put your printer, or that document you’ve been meaning to review or your cat could take a nap there,” they explain.
Marina Bautier / Atlantico
With its simple structure in natural oak or walnut, this lightweight desk is definitely more domestic than corporate and a pleasure to sit at. Practicality is still key though. The white aluminium hood, which hides a laptop and ugly cables when closed, turns into a magnetic noticeboard when raised.
Roberto Mora / Dilmos gallery
Roberto Mora's 'cARTe' shelving is a characterful addition to the home office. Translated as 'Paper' the hand hammered, powder-coated sheet metal shelving resembles the flimsy material of its namesake, but has a considerable strength that belies its appearance. Of the trend for materials defying their usual properties that's staged an appearance at many of this year's fairs, Mora's shelving is certainly one of the more playful designs. But where many other examples of the trend stray into gratuitous gimmick territory, 'Paper' shelving has a sophisticated edge still.
Dylan Freeth /
Dylan Freeth is a London-based designer whose quiet, practical designs are inspired by simple observations of daily life. The results are often playful details rather than grand gestures but details intended for smoother function, not simply for decorative effect. His Divider nest tables are a case in point and a contemporary update on a classic piece of design. Taking inspiration from file dividers, the graded tabs on each table means they can be nested and separated with greater ease. The four, sheet aluminium tables are graded in something of a 1970s colour palette, a nice nod to a time when file dividers were commonplace, before the advent of virtual document storage.
/ Bottega Veneta
Price on request
Though we don't know many people in possession of a fine set of desk accessories anymore, we're quite keen to spearhead their revival. And so too are Italian masters of luxury Bottega Veneta. Their new collection of desirable desk objects, made from sterling silver, contain office staples of yore like a bookmark, a magnifying glass and a paper knife. Embellished with the brand's trademark woven design, though in silver not leather, the collection has a fine, antique, handcrafted appeal. Creative director Tomas Maier rightly says that, 'If you have a beautiful desk or office, you want the objects on top to be distinctive.'
/ Versace home
Much of Versace's 2008 collection had elements of 1930s modernism, combined with the brand's standard fare of contemporary luxury. This mix worked best on this supremely elegant chair, whose tapering legs provide the perfect partner to the heavy, embossed leather seat. The sinuous shape of the design not only gives it a glamorous, retro feel, but also lends it an air of authority should you need to hold an impromptu board meeting from your home. And, in keeping with the brand's commitment to the finest craftsmanship across both its fashion and home ranges, it's expertly finished and sure to last the length of one's career.
Bucking the trend for office products favouring the darker shades of the colour palette comes Italian firm Rexite's cheerful waste paper bin. A red waste paper bin makes sense for many reasons, principally as a target for scrunched up waste it's perhaps a little easier to hit than a standard graphite or black model. Rexite's design also includes a detachable white section to encourage recycling, the idea being that the smaller white compartment is for non-recyclable waste, whilst the main red body is for paper. Unless of course you want to award yourself double points for getting a ball of paper in the white...
Marco Dessi /
Unlike the serial lying cartoon counterpart though, Dessi's wood and metal desk has little to hide. The aluminium tabletop, bent from one sheet and finished in matt grey is an exercise in pushing the metal to its limit, creating an industrial but very light overall design. And what of the name? "The original models, made from cardboard and wood, reminded me of Pinocchio with his paper clothes and wooden legs," explains Dessi. "When I came to making it in aluminium, I couldn't call it anything else."
StokkeAustad / ABR
Price awaiting confirmation
"We made this calendar because we feel the way the year passes is a very personal and subjective happening," Norwegian duo StokkeAustad explain, "we wanted to create a calendar where you are able to arrange your year however you wish." The colours are based on Norwegian associations with blue representing winter, green is spring, yellow summer and red autumn. The potential hours of fun you can have arranging your year might just make those office days pass a little quicker too.
Pieter Woudt / Kikkerland
American designer Pieter Woudt's 'Futuro' eternal calendar is one of the simplest we've seen on this theme. Woudt calculated that with just 14 double-sided inserts, he could cover every day-to-date eventuality. Sensibly the calendar's timeless aesthetic gives it a good chance of surviving generation after generation of study walls too.
Pieke Bergmans /
Imagine a light bulb that's deformed beyond all standard regulations and you'll end up with a 'light blub'. Like all Pieke Bergmans' work, 'blubs' are spontaneous, playful and driven by her passion for design with personality. Her series of 18 unique lamps, in Royal Leerdam crystal, are perfect imperfection.
Tej Chauhan / ChauhanStudio
You'd expect a former senior industrial designer at Nokia to know a thing or two about good phone design and if ChauhanStudio's Colombo range is anything to go by, Tej Chauhan certainly does. The ergonomic shape of the Colombo Two cordless phone is instantly appealing in a retro futuristic kind of way. But more than a mere aesthetic pleasantry, ChauhanStudio's intention is to re-establish the classic receiver relationship between earpiece and mouthpiece in a way that prioritises comfort. Available in black, white and 'special orange' it's nice to see that good design is being applied to the humble home phone and not just the mobile market.
Julie Pfligersdorffer / Ligne Roset
You don't see new writing desks too often these days, perhaps because letter writing is becoming a thing of the past. But Julie Pfligersdorffer's desk might be enough to inspire a small resurgence of the epistle. 'Poms' is a lightweight design, which comes in either walnut or maple and has a neat side drawer lined in leather. Meanwhile the desk's hood cover and chromed steel base add a contemporary edge so if you can't quite quit the laptop it won't look totally out of place.
We thought it only fair to throw open the doors to The W* House and share with you our wealth of experience in the design world. From cutlery to cupboards, pots to plumbing, The W* House features our favourite pieces of design from around the globe, room by room. We'll update them every time we find something new we like, building the collection into an archive for as long as the pieces are for sale. Practicality isn't often a buzzword at the Wallpaper* HQ, but when it comes to sharing our finds we wanted to keep things simple, letting you furnish your house the Wallpaper* way, with the click of a mouse.