Writing desks

The desks define a personal work space, allowing the creation of both a domestic work corner within a home, which is also useful for home working, and a personal operating space in a more properly working environment, whether it be an office or a professional studio or more generally in a public or receptive environment.
Often similar to a table, the desk is a piece of furniture that contains several functions and is designed primarily to support activities such as studying, writing, office work and increasingly, with the advent of the computer age, work in front of a computer.
Born in the distant Middle Ages, in order to support the activity of the scribes - precious monks from Amalfi who wrote and copied texts by hand - the desk was initially made up of a horizontal plane for writing completed by a lectern, all resting on vertical supports and generally used in the scriptorium, a particular room of the religious building in such a position as to capture as much light as possible during the process of copying the ancient codices.
The desk has gradually been transformed over the centuries with the addition of side drawers, which occurred with the flourishing and spreading of the study of the arts and sciences thanks to the Renaissance, during which the write and keep the whole world related to writing has also given rise to objects such as desks and secretaries, relatives very close to the desk. However, the evolution of the classic desk was quite slow, at least until the Second World War, when, given the increase in the number of jobs in the offices, it spread a lot, evolving according to new needs and defining itself in the current image of the modern desk. Therefore, even before being a common and widespread domestic furnishing object, it has been the object of industrial design studies on this work input, structuring itself as a real office table where to write and work.

The desk: a personal corner for studying and working, in the office or at home

The desk, therefore, starting from a simple table and its infinite combination with drawers and shelves, has certainly taken shape from the activity that takes place there, embracing different models depending on the type of work and the amount of space available, without any limit from the point of view of styles.
The basic desk is therefore specific, becoming a combination of different modular elements that make it a highly customizable piece of furniture and absolutely in line with the vocation of 'personal' furniture, even if used in a public or shared environment, such as an office or a coworking, and where you can sit willingly several hours a day. The desks are therefore real workstations, with table tops and legs, as well as accessories, such as drawers, bookcases and integrated lights, or channels for the passage and organization of cables, to the wireless charging tops for smartphones, and range from the most basic models, very close to simple tables and therefore really suitable for many domestic and public functions, to the models of desks richer in functions, all in a single object, through all the possible combinations of these types in order to define a real workspace: from modular desks, to various workstations for fixed and portable computers, with specific shelves for the home, monitor and laptop, to combinations of tables, bookcases and drawers, which contribute to create more complex desks, integrated with drawers and shelves and sometimes even on wheels, which in turn can be combined into infinitely expandable systems, from individual units to those with many workstations.

The lightness and versatility of modern design desks

Furnishing accessories that are part of everyday life, modern desks are characterized by a light aesthetic and are the subject of formal and material research that allows you to obtain models that fit into any context, furnishing it. In this way, the desk is not only a functional and practical element, but becomes a real design object, the protagonist of a space, which must be contextualized according to the surrounding furnishing style. The first parameter to evaluate to understand which desk to choose is the design of the model. Linear desks are the most common; in most cases they are rectangular desks but they can also be square, with a more or less large work surface, so they can be easily placed in any area of the room, either centrally or next to a wall. Corner desks instead exploit portions of corner space with the advantage of a smaller footprint. There are also curved desks, which occupy the most important rooms, provided that they do not support, out of necessity, equally curved walls, optimizing even in this case the overall dimensions. If you want to create a desk in a small corner, where there is practically no space because in fact there are already other functions, such as at the foot of a bed or under a bridge wardrobe, there are also desks with wheels, even swivel or able to rotate on a mast, or you can always use as desks shelves or foldable shelves in zero space. If, on the other hand, you are looking for special comfort, in addition to matching it with the right chair, you should opt for height-adjustable desks or desks with electric movement. Finally, essential for a 24-hour use is both the possibility of being positioned during the day near a window, and the choice of the right desk lamp for use in the evening and at night, therefore with artificial light. All this without forgetting the equipment you can equip yourself with when using a desk, from the parts that can be permanently integrated into the infinite accessories for the desk available on the market.
Whether it's a single unit or a complex system, whether it's integrated desks or light mobile desks on wheels, whether it's for the home or an office, whether it's with drawers, shelves or simple desks with shelves, these pieces of furniture offer a sufficient surface area to work with and at the same time present themselves as furnishing objects capable of contributing effectively to the success of an interior design project.
In addition to the right space and surface area available, it is essential to the context in which a desk will be used. In the home, for example, a very different desk can be suitable if designed to become a desk for a bedroom or study, both for the age and the different use, and because different is the way in which, in each context, a desk can promote concentration and productivity, while remaining a corner ready to relax and to be more personalized than that of an office, personal but in a more shared space.
And if a home desk in a dedicated space-study allows you to have more freedom to leave everything in view, perhaps on the same shelf, moving from work and study to leisure, then easily filling up with books, documents, various accessories as well as cups and food, in a space shared with other functions, such as a bedroom or a living area in the house, but even more in an open space of an office, the need for order as well as the need for privacy and protection (not only visual) makes it important if not essential that office desks as well as desks for the study have additional shelves but above all are desks with drawers, archives and modules with lock, taking care therefore up to the mechanism of opening its drawers, in line with the use. All this also in order to be able to easily optimize the spaces occupied and to allow the inevitable and necessary periodic order. The need for simplicity, versatility and temporary use can instead dictate the choice of desks for hotels, while special ergonomics is required so that a worktop can also be used as a desk for the disabled.

Materials and colours of the desk: from functional furniture to furnishing objects

Shape, accessories, context and location are just some of the variables in the field to choose a desk. Surely, however, the material and color, as well as the style, allow in the end the combination with this or that furniture or the creation from scratch of a habitat based on it. The infinite possibilities related to the modularity also allow a wide variety of proposals: from glass desks, transparent and capable of visually lightening a space as well as easily propagating the light, without obstacles, to wooden desks, opaque and apparently more solid, linked in any case to the archetype of classic and traditional desk, even when it comes to desks design or contemporary style, to metal desks, with strong steel or iron structure, often combined with lighter materials, especially for the tops, or desks in aluminum or light alloy, designed to resist especially for shape and shape gradually to different needs. The desks in composite and plastic materials complete the picture, offering complete and maximum versatility in the forms that can be created, as well as maximum modularity and the possibility of easy assembly/disassembly of the components. And depending on the shapes and materials, the way you use, arrange and, last but not least, the way you clean your desks will also change.

Desks in modern design: styles and icons

As an object of such ancient history, the desk still enjoys inevitable variations in all the styles of the past. And among the classic styles, almost exclusively in wood, the most frequent are undoubtedly those of the rich baroque style desks or Louis XV style desks, or of the more linear art deco or empire style desks.
In this regard, we must not forget the famous Resolute desk, which Queen Victoria gave in 1880 to the President of the United States of America at the time, Rutherford B. Hayes. Made with the wood of the British exploration ship HMS Resolute, it was used by many presidents and in various areas of the White House, but that Jackie, wife of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy, first decided to move to the Oval Studio in 1960.
Simpler and not associated with a specific historical period are the desks in rustic style or country style with the latest trend of shabby chic, which, emulating the worn appearance of antique furniture, adds a touch of 'patina of time' even to objects produced today.
The ethnic style desks evoke equatorial atmosphere typical of the southern hemisphere - African, South American or Asian - using natural and exotic materials to enrich entire furnishings or just a few details or corners of the house or, above all, of many hotels and resorts.
Minimal and geometrical, the Japanese style desks, on the other hand, make tradition coexist with the essential of modern styles.
Theme of essentiality, also explored in Scandinavian shelving systems and Scandinavian style desks, the result of Nordic research in the second half of the 20th century into minimalist furnishings and natural materials such as wood. The twentieth century certainly saw the birth of the modern desk as it is today conceived, in terms of materials and shapes. It is therefore no coincidence that design objects created at that time resist time and are produced and reissued again. An example is the Bauhaus style desks, such as the classic S 285 by Marcel Breuer, in all its combinations, still produced by Thonet.
Fruit instead of Italian creativity and design in the mid-twentieth century, although inspired by the craftsmanship of past centuries, are icons such as the Leonardo table designed by Achille Castiglioni for Zanotta or the table REALE 2320 reissued in 1990 by Zanotta on the project Carlo Mollino, who in 1947 designed it for the offices of the Reale Mutua assicurazioni in Turin. In fact, in the mid-eighties Zanotta discovered the work of Carlo Mollino and began the production of some furniture designed by the eccentric Turin architect who, despite the contemporary international style, proposed a different poetics, favoring organic forms and the use of natural materials such as solid wood.
And speaking of reissues, you can not fail to refer to all the proposals of desks in vintage style, generally eager to revive the office desk typical of the 50's in which wood, metal tubing and the first plastic laminates materialized a completely new prototype compared to the past, with shapes to which in some ways we are still fond. An evolution that soon, in the 70s, reached essential and evergreen desks such as the iconic QUADERNA 2830 designed by Superstudio, again for Zanotta.
Finally, it is curious how the idea of the bed-desk, made by some Italian students traveling to England, a model of desk on which to easily rest a mattress and, in the same space, spend the night in their room, then found full creative expression in the famous ABITACOLO, historical project by Bruno Munari, Compasso d'Oro in 1979 and inexhaustible contemporaneity, produced by Rexite and made of a light and essential metal structure - a kind of scaffolding - two levels equipped with different accessories: inside the bed and all around the desk, shelves and baskets for various objects, usable indifferently from the bed and from the outside, with endless solutions and compositions.

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