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New desk design is more than just your typical slab of IKEA wood plunked on four legs. The best desk design accommodates coworking, as the right work setup is key. Just as codesign blurs the role between designer and user, why can't desk design be led by a group of codesigners, too? As you'll see below, Deskmag features both independent designers and participatory design groups who have designed the latest in coworking desks, from London to Mexico.
By Nadja Sayej - Friday, 03 May 2013

“Design is the non-fiction version of art.” Douglas Coupland said that. The Canadian author and artist who wrote Generation X has had his fair share of both art and design thinking (he even has taken his hand at desk design last year at Toronto’s Interior Design Show). Here Deskmag looks at desk designs which speak to usability and creativity, and that are perfect for coworking spaces. 

The Work Table 002 by Miguel de la Garza

The Work Table 002 by Mexican designer Miguel de la Garza is unique with its handy second layer of storage. It’s all about the clutter free zone with this worktable -- stash your nail polish, notes or cords underneath the second-level storage area. In the middle of the table, eight sockets are tucked away inside a black-framed lip. The black-painted, crisscrossed wooden legs hinge together two big planks of unfinished lumber, giving it a raw, carpenter worktable aesthetic.

Fit for a team of six people, this Grade A pine desk was born out of sheer low-cost practicality. The size of the tabletop surface was based on lumber standard sizes (6 by 8 feet), to reduce the cost of cutting – and wasting – pine plywood. But the real gem is the storage space in between, where you can store a number of laptops without risking any surface space.

Fruit n Nut Tables by Studio TILT

Treating space as a tool for design, the London-based Studio TILT explores furniture design with a cultural twist. In other words, social behavior is just as important as their aesthetic. Just as certain look can energize or demotivate experiences and work flow, the best design transforms studio interaction. The best coworking spaces are friendly and creative.

Club Workspace in London recently opened two new locations designed by TILT, joining the three existing spaces they already have in England, the Enterprise House and The Chiswick Club.

Their design is deeply rooted in codesign philosophy, which is more than just creating a welcoming coworking space, it’s about multi-tasking multiple coworking spaces under one roof. You’ll see this particular Fruit n Nut table is designed for coworking but also informal meetings.

Inspired by the codesign workshops of the Hub in Vienna and London, the desks were born out of a need for tables that can be used flexibly: from a casual café tabletop to a deeply-focused power-working. The desks here were designed to be easily cleared away and stored for evening events, and what better way to do that than use something so easily disassembled?

The clever name draws from the shape of the series, as each tabletop is fashioned after a nut or piece of fruit. There is a monkey nut desk, a lemon desk, a plum desk and a conker desk (for those unfamiliar with the word conker, it’s the seed of a horse chestnut).

Shaped to fit different types and numbers of coworkers, some styles have a smaller surface than others, both connect deskers to their space. The lemon-shaped desk is more of a coworking table fit for six, while the plum table is suited for a meeting of four. The keyword here is ‘adaptable,’ flex to the group of the day. With a daily influx of unexpected meetings – as in every coworking space – pick a desk best suited to the day. You never know what the day will bring in the world of curated community.

The LeafDesk by Studio TILT

That’s not all they have up their sleeves – the folks at Studio TILT also designed the LeafDesk, which is a desk design created especially for collaborative working. Naturally, the concept was created in a complimentary fashion. Developed in a codesign workshop with members of London’s The Hub Islington, TILT is responding to “the need for desking that could accommodate flexible working, be easily shared and facilitate high density working.”

The answer? The LeafDesk is a fully transportable desk that folds in and out with a rotating pivot. Designed for tightly knit teams, as workers come and go, the desk can be folded inward or spread out. With rounded edges and bizarre deer-hoof legs, this space-age masterpiece is fashioned after the shape of oval leaves.

The LeafDesk is available in three different sizes, and it rotates up to 270 degrees and seats three coworkers comfortably. Fit for tight spaces that require space shifting for meetings, workshops or other change ups, just make sure you fold up the LeafDesk before your fellow coworkers leave the office (it doesn’t look that easy to do on your own).

Desk Rail

Every coworking desk needs accessories, but where to put them? Soon to be hot on the market is Desk Rail, which hopes to bring a fresh take to desk clutter with a sleek rectangular storing component. An innovative, stylish solution to decluttering desk chaos, this Austin-based startup already beat their Kickstarter campaign goal of $13,000 with a whopping $22,000 before the May 8 deadline.

This desk accessory gives you a way to keep everything organized – or at least in one place. Modeled to match the size of an Apple keyboard, the three-inch deep silver storage unit has foam cushions to sandwich together your smartphone, pens, glasses or notebooks (which can sometimes get lost in the sea of freelancers).

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