What is a contemporary desk

Simple and contemporary desk: a masterpiece by Merlin Bally

Reading, writing, sketching and working with a laptop: Merlin Bally integrates contemporary requirements for a desk into an impressively simple piece of furniture.

The reduced visible surface of the table legs, which are tapered downwards, and a plate that has been extended to form a flat body with three drawers, creates an open, light and transparent look to the desk, which maintains its firm footing with flared legs. The lines alone give an idea of ​​the function behind the recessed fronts. The middle sides are designed as burr strips and take on grooved strips for the drawer runners. The flat design of the drawers means that there is no need for an underfloor guide. The two outer ones offer enough space for paper, the middle one for writing utensils. The rear pieces in front of all three drawers give the impression of being fully extended; the respective compartment remains hidden as long as the drawers are in their runners. This creates secret compartments that are secured by magnetic locks as a lock. The rear area of ​​the table top is designed as a three-part compartment with a continuous flap and integrated sockets. When closed, the flap, which is angled at the bottom, is at a distance from the plate. This slot serves as an inconspicuous handle such as for the passage of cables.

Artisanal connections have been thought out down to the smallest detail: the massive desk top is mortised into the transverse frieze and additionally secured by burr strips. The table legs are connected to the transverse friezes with a conical mortise and tenon connection. A very aesthetic detail that secures the slender legs against torsion. If you continue the lines of the conical tenon upwards and those of the tapered table feet downwards, two vanishing points are created between which the furniture is stretched. Whether the design intent is behind it or whether the viewer was inspired to play this thought remains open!

Formal reduction and a clear technical design language determine the entire design, which is executed in solid ash with a calm grain and turquoise linoleum as an accent material, also in the allocation of the materials in great harmony.

Alternative concept: another desk from the master school in Munich


Kevin Gerstmeier is a master carpenter and room and object designer. He works both independently and as Head of Design in the Baur carpenter's workshop and as a guest lecturer at various vocational schools.