For two years the back page of Wallpaper* has investigated, albeit in a fantasy kind of way, the desks of individuals who intrigue us, from Martha Stewart to Tadao Ando, Santa Claus to Prince Charles.
Amy Heffernan, our Junior Interiors Editor has been in charge of each imaginary workspace. And, as the series comes to a close, we took her away from her own desk to find out a little bit more…
How did the idea come about?
We wanted to have something a bit light-hearted on the backpage, something that could work as a game and include all areas that we cover in the magazine. It also worked well with the blossoming of our website as every month we featured the answer online.
How did the process work?
Once we agreed on a figure, I investigated as much as possible about them. After the detective work was done I tried to find design objects that also worked as visual clues, describing their character and work.
Which was your favourite and why?
Damien Hirst was my favourite with Ettore Sottsass running a close second. Hirst was an easy one for readers to guess but the props worked really well as clear clues and the look fitted his art works to make a visually compelling image.
The best outcome though was Viktor and Rolf, who sent a lovely note to say they had seen the feature. Delightfully they came across it reading Wallpaper* on a plane. I love the idea of finding a fantasy of yourself in a magazine by surprise.
Which was your least favourite and why?
Characters outside the realm of design have been the hardest to portray. This is because it’s difficult to get the balance between capturing the essence of the person and our belief in a certain aesthetic here at Wallpaper*.
Which was the easiest and why?
Nothing is ever easy! If I had to choose, it would be Dieter Rams. Vitsoe in London were so great to work with. They gave me brilliant information and even lent some of their vintage Braun pieces including the mini radio, which was the original inspiration for Jonathan Ive’s Ipod.
Did you go to any extreme lengths to get hold of anything?
For Ingo Maurer I ended up in touch with his daughter to find out how he used his desk to try and add a personal touch. I received a written description of how he keeps his desk –a very vivid insight – and great inspiration for the fantasy desk that we then go on to create.
For Martha Stewart’s I borrowed a home detainment bracelet, which was something I didn’t ever imagine trying to look for. It was very amusing trying to explain to a prison equipment company in the US why we needed them to send us one.
Whose desk would you most like to sit at?
I would love to sit at Naoto Fukasawa’s desk. I imagine it’s beautiful and perfect and I could have the entire plus minus zero collection around me.
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Rosa Bertoli was born in Udine, Italy, and now lives in London. Since 2014, she has been the Design Editor of Wallpaper*, where she oversees design content for the print and online editions, as well as special editorial projects. Through her role at Wallpaper*, she has written extensively about all areas of design. Rosa has been speaker and moderator for various design talks and conferences including London Craft Week, Maison & Objet, The Italian Cultural Institute (London), Clippings, Zaha Hadid Design, Kartell and Frieze Art Fair. Rosa has been on judging panels for the Chart Architecture Award, the Dutch Design Awards and the DesignGuild Marks. She has written for numerous English and Italian language publications, and worked as a content and communication consultant for fashion and design brands.
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