We asked experts and showed you how you could design your home office in five lessons.
Just work, then the joy will come by itself. Goethe allegedly once said that. But, unfortunately, it can no longer be proven today – and yet it is tempting to imagine that the great German poet shared his wisdom about the thriving work culture at his desk in Weimar. It had four feet made of ash and a body made of pear wood with 19 drawers. And on that? It was perhaps the most eccentric accessory ever: a skull that Goethe (wrongly) believed was the head of Schiller himself.
Goethe obviously had a feeling for stimulating accessories. The skull was a source of inspiration for him. He otherwise relied on more reserved furniture in his office because “an environment of comfortable, tasteful furniture” put him in a passive state. So we lean out of the window and contradict this great homework from the start: You can work effectively in the home office even with tasteful (and comfortable!) Furniture. Promised!
The most essential things in the home office
- The right desk
- A good chair
- Storage & order
We claim: A stylish environment is more fun when working than grey office stress. That is why more and more companies are leaving a piece of home in the office – and more and more Germans are taking the office home with them. It used to be called teleworking, today it is called home office. But how do you work effectively from home, and what role does an appealing design play in this? “At least it is important that there is no bed in the room,” recommends interior designer Nora Witzigmann.
“The clearer a room is visually designed, the more concentrated work is done in it.”
Witzigmann relies on a key piece to which one has a personal connection; Maybe a solid desk from your grandparents, a vintage find or a bespoke piece. “That makes the room personal.” The best example: Byredo founder Ben Gorham had his desk custom-made by Swedish architect Christian Halleröd because he wanted a “clean, almost Japanese” desk that had to meet the demands of his baroque study.
1. The right desk
We learn: The desk is perhaps the most important piece in the home office. To better understand this piece of furniture, let’s take a little journey back in time to the 15th century. As for writing, it’s a century of upheaval. Johannes Gutenberg experimented with printed letters, and the mechanical reproduction of writing helped the intellectual life to take off again. As a result, writing furniture is also going through rapid development. From medieval writing, board to box desk with first storage compartments, later to the desk with scripture.
Werkbund, Bauhaus and Art Deco make desks slimmer and more functional. In 1930 Marcel Breuer designed his desk “S 285”. Its usable areas seem to float freely and are only held in place by thin steel tubes. The desktop is made of ash – because it is easier to write on wood than on steel. Egon Eiermann knows this, too. Around 20 years later designed a desk based on a similar principle: the minimalist “Eiermann” is held by a slim metal frame that can be combined with a wide variety of tops.
Four desks for the home
- “Palette Desk JH9” “Palette Desk JH9” by Jaime Hayon for & tradition, from 2065 euros.
- “Secretary PS04” “Secretary PS04”, Müller Möbelfabrikation , from 1070 euros
- “Cupertino” desk “Cupertino” from BoConcept , from 679 euros.
- “Eiermann 1” “Eiermann 1”, only available from Richard Lampert, always cuts a fine figure.
Key piece: The “Eiermann 1” by Egon Eiermann
For decades, the architect’s most reliable friend has been the “Eiermann 1” work table, which can easily be converted into a drawing table with an inclined top. The frame, designed in 1953, owes its stability with little use of material to a willing, diagonal cross welded in one plane between two side frames. In 1995 Richard Lampert acquired Egon Eiermann’s original structure from 1953, which he named “Eiermann 1”.
But such an egg man needs enough space with a minimum width of 1.20 meters. “When designing home offices, I notice again and again that their owners primarily want a space to store things – also mentally,” says Nora Witzigmann. In other words, letters do not end up on the console in the hallway but on the desk in the home office. If you have less space, you might be better off with a bureau. It’s narrower and has a clear advantage in the home office: It’s wonderfully discreet – because (not) done work disappears behind closed doors in the evening.
If you don’t have the space for that, you can spread it out on the dining table. However, it should be so spacious that work can be left on one half of the table; sorted and tidy, of course. “I like to work in the kitchen,” reveals Witzigmann. You can avoid clutter at the dining table by organizing writing utensils on a tray. Documents disappear in a base cabinet on casters, which can be flexibly moved from room to room and returns to their fixed location in the evening.
2. A comfortable chair
A good desk chair comes on castors, is rotatable and ideally ergonomic. Vitra offers various models; for example, Konstantin Grcic’s “All-Star” or the “Softshell Chair” by Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec. But: These models scream “office” – if you prefer to do without roles in your home office, you might be better off with a comfortable dining room chair. The furniture manufacturer Wagner specializes in healthy sitting, and model “W 1960” cuts a fine figure at the dining table and the desk. Vitra’s rocking “Tip Ton” from Barber & Osgerby is remarkably agile. Nora Witzigmann completely dispenses with a classic office chair and sits at home “on an old Thonet cantilever chair .”
Five chairs for the home office – with and without castors
- “Verve” swivel chair “Verve” by Geckeler Michels for Fredericia.
- “Minuscule” ** “Minuscule” by Cecilie Manz for Fritz Hansen.
- “W1960″ model “W1960” by Wagner, here the special edition with Steinway & Sons.
- “Arco” conference chair “Arco” with oak backrest by Francesco Rota for Lapalma.
- “Tip Ton” “Tip Ton” by Barber & Osgerby for Vitra.
Four vintage favourites by Nora Witzigmann
- Danish Modern Office Chair
- Ico and Luisa Parisi Desk Chair
- Desk chair
- Swivel Chair
3. Storage space and storage
If you look into the office of Byredo founder Ben Gorham, you will find a tidy room there. No trace of files, letters, mail or invoices. He only gives his sources of inspiration plenty of space: books and magazines are ready to hand on the large desk. At home, clutter is a distraction. Mail or invoices should be kept carefully, journals and magazines disappear in magazine collectors, sorted alphabetically or by colour.
Straight lines bring calm to a room. This also applies to open shelves. Closed cabinets fit perfectly into the room if they pick up on the colour of the wall. And: “In small rooms, I would rely on low furniture, for example, on a sideboard,” says Nora Witzigmann. “But of course, a wall of books is also great. “Witzigmann suggests a vintage shelf as a design element, for example, the“ 606 ”shelf by Dieter Rams for Vitsœ. It Is, of course, also new. Another eye-catcher is the “Endless Shelf” wall unit by Studio Aislsinger for Porro, a somewhat inexpensive “Stacked” shelf by Muuto that can be flexibly put together.
Not always friendly, but essential in the home office: the technical equipment. “If you are planning a house, it is best to think of a floor outlet in the home office, in which the cables then disappear,” advises the expert Witzigmann. If you don’t have these options, you can hide cables as best as possible. For example, Westwing founder Delia Fischer, who we visited at the company’s new headquarters in Munich (in the video above), had a box made for her printer with a hole for the power cable in the back wall. But it doesn’t always have to be made to measure: More and more manufacturers are offering solutions – E15 tables can now be ordered with integrated cable management.
Good light is essential in the home office. It is best to place the desk in front of the window to provide sufficient daylight. In the evening, a desk lamp creates a productive atmosphere. Because: Bad light can significantly impair concentration. “The living area we find that the ideal colour temperature is 2700 Kelvin,” says Occhio founder Axel Meise. In the work area, however, it is already 3000 Kelvin – if not more. Other words: Warm light is ideal in the dining area, but not in the home office. With Occhio’s new “Mito” luminaire, the colour temperature can be set flexibly – a clever addition for home workers who work at the dining table and still value optimal lighting.
The classic among desk lamps is the “Tolomeo” that Michele De Lucchi designed for Artemide 30 years ago. In the vicinity of Milan, an entire factory works only on the “Tolomeo” – and produces around half a million copies a year. De Lucchi’s lamp is available in numerous versions, in the mini format, in a wide variety of colours, for the wall, as a floor lamp and even for outdoor use.