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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Vanishing art

Most of us are so accustomed to firing off a quick email from the computer at our utilitarian desks that we forget people in the mid-Twentieth century sat at exquisitely crafted pieces of furniture and composed letters by hand with elegant instruments called fountain pens.

I hope these beautiful desks, along with a glimpse of an extremely rare Parker T-1, will inspire you to pick up a pen and write a note to someone you love.

Images from unless otherwise noted
Extremely rare titanium Parker T-1
Arne Vodder
Bullet-shaped Danish teak, designer unknown
Edward Wormley
George Nakashima
Hans Wegner
Ib Kofod-Larsen
Jens Risom
Kidney-shaped Danish with tambour doors, designer unknown
Milo Baughman
Nanna Ditzel
T. H. Robsjohn-Gibbings
Vladimir Kagan
Walnut desk with tambour doors, designer unknown


  1. We do like the Ib Kofod-Larsen desk with its floating writing surface. It's interesting that you've credited the designer, as here in the UK this desk would merely fall under the 'G-Plan' umbrella as far as any description of the piece goes.

  2. Ooooo, do love those desks. I love how uncluttered the offices are in Mad Men. My desk has a gazillion wires, a printer, monitor, keyboard, mouse, laptop, lamp, papers, pens. BAH. I'd love a vintage desk with one pen and a notebook. Ahhhhh. Simple.

  3. lovely desks....such exquisite craftsmanship and luxuriously made pieces :)

  4. @chairsmith: A good bit of G-Plan shows up in our area (as well as Remploy and Nathan). We've found that the pieces designed by Kofod-Larsen sell best. There's a real interest in his work lately, and we just got two of his shell back chairs with iron legs, which we're restoring. I'll post about them soon.

  5. @Tanya: I fought that clutter for years, and I finally went wireless and moved my printer to another room. Now all I have on my desk is my laptop, a vase and a the omnipresent Diet Coke can that follows me everywhere. :)

  6. @Sudha: It's sad to think that owning a desk like one of these is the exception in today's homes, rather than the rule.

  7. People back then just knew how to make everything look so classy.

    The things I'd do for that Arne Vodder ...

  8. @Nick: I agree. I shudder to think what this era will be remembered for. Or will any of the throw-away furniture being sold today even survive? One can only hope.

  9. Fantastic, all of them!
    My Top 2- Hans Wegner and T. H. Robsjohn-Gibbings.

  10. @I dream lo-tech: I find it hard to narrow it down to two...but there's something about the Nanna Ditzel and the Vladimir Kagan that I love.