Now that scientific evidence proves that having art in the workplace increases employee well-being, remote workers can trade in their bulky, cluttered desks for a sleeker option. On December 14, Dutch furniture designer Robert van Embricqs posted an Instagram reel of his “Flow Wall Desk” — a collapsable mounted device that shifts from a warm-toned wooden wall artwork to a functional, contemporary desk in one fluid motion.
Van Embricqs told Hyperallergic that the concept of the desk was first conceptualized in late 2020 at the request of a returning client who, like many of us, found himself working from home. It took a year and two prototype designs to achieve the final product.
“One of the main roadblocks was to keep it sturdy once unfolded and make it unable to move from side to side, but eventually we managed to figure this out without sacrificing the minimalistic design appearance,” van Embricqs said.
The designer’s fascination with collapsable, slatted furniture extends to tables and chairs as well, and even a large-scale lighting fixture. While his other functional pieces have garnered attention, the desk was the device that went viral.
In his own words, van Embricqs’s practice is committed to functionality in art. Perhaps what drew many to his design is the way in which it encompasses both art and function, an attractive fusion, especially for those of us managing remote work in shoebox apartments. The designer cites animal architecture and anatomy as large sources of inspiration for him — specifically the “combination between flexibility and rigidness” that follows the active and passive use of our bone structures. The question “to what degree is the object you’re creating capable of dictating its own design?” has led him to develop a repeated cutting technique that allows a material to exhibit volume through reliable combination of fluidity and sturdiness.
The desk, which can support an 18 kg (~40 lb) weight limit, is available for purchase on van Embricqs’s webshop at a pretty reasonable price (before shipping costs are calculated at least) considering the fact that modular, designer furniture usually costs an arm and a leg. This appears to be a shared sentiment according to the designer, who says his artsy desk’s viral moment will enable him to start producing at a bigger scale.