Writing Desks: 12 Designs of Diverse Architectural Languages – Part 1

B473-222_KOAre you in the market for a writing desk? Can you guess how many types of writing desks exist? Writing desks are about as diverse as your financial portfolio. While searching for a writing desk to put in my office, I wanted something that would be elegant and practical, without having that industrialized, corporate look. Initially, I thought that there were only about 3 different types of writing desks, until I began researching to find a distinctive style I would like. Quickly, I found that my results were extremely underestimated. The results literally blew me away when I discovered that there were so many different types of desks, price variations and an amazing historical lineage behind their evolution.

Desks are pieces of furniture that operate as a table with a sloping or horizontal surface, often containing drawers, compartments, and pigeonholes particularly used for writing and reading. From modern glass desks to stylish veneered office desks, there is a cornucopia of writing surfaces designed to fit your individual style and needs.

This is the first of a three part series on the diverse designs of writing desks. Check out these twelve desks and see if any of them fits your style preference and functional needs:

1. Bonheur du jour: A fashionable desk that is always very light and graceful, with a raised back, forming a small cabinet or case of drawers.

2. Credenza Desk: has a stack of shelves, small drawers and other nooks, above its main working surface called a hutch.

3. Bargueno Desk: Also called the vargueño is basically a chest with its lid on the side that was sometimes used for sewing or as a jewel chest, as well as, a reading and writing desk. Implements were stored inside.

4. Drawing Table: This can be used for any kind of drawing, writing or sketching on a large sheet of paper for precise technical illustrations. It is sometimes referred to as a Drafting Table used by architects and graphic designers.

5. Trestle Desk: offers a simple flat desktop surface with a few drawers underneath it, supported by two legs instead of four. These legs are designed to be dismantled for easy and efficient storage.

6. Tambour desk : A desk that uses straight, perfectly vertical rows of shutters. The work surface rests on a few drawers, supported by short legs instead of pedestals. Half of the desktop folds back on itself when not in use.

7. Secretary Desk: A base of wide drawers topped by a desk with a hinged desktop surface and a bookcase, which is usually closed with a pair of doors.

8. Lectern Desk: is suitable for writing in cramped quarters, in a residence or workplace. Most have a slanted top with a lip, to keep pens and paper from sliding down.

9. Secretaire en portefeuille: Usually mounted on rollers at the end of four jutting legs. Desktop lifts up to cover internal areas.

10. Writing table: (also known as bureau plat) has a series of drawers directly under the surface of the table, to house writing implements, so that it may serve as a desk.

11. Liseuse desk: A medium sized writing table with a small hinged panel in the middle that can spring up by the aid of a mechanism. This desk could be propped up at a preferred angle to read or write on its slanted surface.

12. Fire Screen desk: This desk is a very small antique desk that was placed in front of a fireplace to keep a user’s feet warm, while writing.

Although many of these richly ornate writing desks may come with a costly price tag, the investment into an architecturally designed piece of furniture may become a family heirloom for generations to come.


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