A Nostalgic Twist on the Sit/Stand Office Trend

With a few updates, old-school desk designs turn out to be a great idea for today’s wired world.

​Ruiter’s pedestal desk updates a classic. “While the double-pedestal desk is an icon, slight additions fulfill today’s needs—such as being able to charge electronics and lock them up by providing outlets in the drawers,” he says.

All images courtesy Dean van Dis

Designer Joey Ruiter’s pedestal desk for Bold Furniture’s One collection was born out of an almost banal realization: The design that works best needn’t be something wildly new and different. “We’ve sort of overdone the office,” Ruiter says. “Way overdone it. There is a challenge to accepting that you don’t have to make something ridiculous anymore.”

Ruiter’s initial ideas for the One desk stemmed from nostalgia. “A desk is a personal place,” he observes. “It’s the idea of, ‘This is my desk, this is where I do things,’ and having that place—especially in today’s ubiquitous world—is sort of fun. We all have memories like, ‘This is my grandpa’s desk, and he worked here for 50 years.’ I wanted the notion of a place that’s yours and of something that stays with you.”

Extra Height
“I was determined to have a huge height range, so you can stand or almost sit on the ground,” Ruiter explains. The telescoping legs raise the desktop from twenty-two to forty-eight inches. “The surface and all of its storage move at the touch of a button.”

Beyond the nostalgia lay necessity. Even with all the changes in technology, Ruiter points out, the basic things we do at a desk remain the same—pushing buttons, reading, writing, sitting, and standing. To address these needs, he wanted a one-unit desk that had storage, power, and height adjustability. Ruiter realized that the designs of the past should not be ignored. “In the early concepts I thought, ‘Wow! Is this double-pedestal desk from the 1950s really what I want to promote as the best way to work today?’” he says. “It took about three years to accept what it was—that an old icon is relevant today. Even more so with the twist of technology—it comes back full circle to a wireless environment.”

The final product, which debuted at NeoCon, seems simple, but Ruiter emphasizes that there was immense effort put into the design. “It was super difficult to pare this down to its simplest form,” he says. Here he describes how he met these challenges.

The desk can be used in several configurations, Ruiter says. “I want the desk to be able to assume the various personalities of the users. Combining metal, veneers, and laminates in a range of colors means it can do just that.”

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