Work Smarter: 12 Modern Desks Reinvent the Standard Office Surface

The typical desk design has remained the same for centuries, but we need these surfaces to do more – like incorporate our gadgets, offer privacy in loud offices, fit into our homes, fold up to take on the go or offer proper space for our cat overlords. Maybe even all of these things at once.  These designs are more than just a flat slab on legs, adapting to 21st century standards in all sorts of different ways.

Turia Table by Maxime Mellot Incorporates Nature

“Can we admire nature and put it in a cage?” says Maxime Mellot of his own design, this curious desk inspired by a park in the city of Valencia, Spain. “Turia participates in the debate, and forces the user to divert his attention, from his own person to live animals, requiring care and benevolence. In a society focused on performance and permanent connection to the internet, pure moments of privacy become rare and precious. But how can furniture invite us to take a break, drink a tea or have a snack and help us to enjoy this specific disconnected moment? My project tends to merge the universe of nature and relaxation, by combining iconic items such as bird cage and fish tank in an interactive way.”

Koloro-Desk by Torafu Architects

The interior of the Koloro-desk by Torafu Architects is like a cheerful miniature house with its very own operable windows, so you can lean inside to read, work, sketch or nap and feel a sense of disconnection from the world just outside its little walls. The two flip-out windows on either side offer shelves for drinks and other objects, and there’s even a skylight.

Oxymoron Desk by Anna Lotova

Shove stationery, pens and other item between the two little cushions under the surface of Anna Lotova’s Oxymoron Desk. The name comes from the unlikely pairing of materials. The cushion sandwich even lets you slide a piece of plywood inside to create a side table.

“We have to change our behavior, plan and think of work with a different mindset: no matter where an office is situated, it has to have a space it can call its own, identifiable, alterable, on a human scale, with its own history and objects, an enjoyable environment,” says Lotova.

CATable by Hao Ruan

Do you have a persistent feline companion who gets a little jealous of your computer or books when you’re working? This clever table by Hao Ruan of LYCS Architecture doubles as cat furniture, with the underside full of comfy curving hollows and tunnels for your cat friend to hide in.