In this slideshow we return to a simpler time, when a modern desk could remain unencumbered by snarls of cords, food-flecked keyboards or errant mouse pads. From pieces by Nakashima to Breuer, we present a mid-century view of an age-old problem: how to maintain a winsome work space.
Created by George Nelson for Herman Miller around 1952, this desk features a hidden drawer with a three-tiered shelving system on one side and a perforated metal basket on the other. Twin sliding panels obscure more shelving space above the leather-topped desk surface.
This solid walnut piece features a stout pedestal with three drawers with inset handles; Nakashima designed it to be positioned on either the left or the right, depending on the user's need. The top is composed of three boards, with the center piece carrying a very dynamic grain. The floating end is supported by a pair of simple spindle legs. The desk was recently restored by Mira Nakashima and is in excellent condition.
Guariche designed this piece, made of palissander, white formica and steel, in 1962. It features a formica-lined open front area, with two drawers on the reverse side, and a simple steel x-shaped base.
Quistgaard created this 1967 teak piece, which has a rectangular top with a hinged flip-top superstructure and is fitted with drawers and pigeonholes above a four-drawer frieze. It was manufactured by Lovig, and bears the maker's stencil on the underside.