The Work Space
Inspiration doesn’t always come easily. Finding different perspectives and innovating is essential to push the boundaries in any line of work but teasing out new ideas from our often fickle minds is an inexact science. Although the productivity-boosting industry – the task-sharing apps and ergonomic keyboards – is big business, the place in which we work and the objects we interact with at this delicate, febrile moment of creation, does have a considerable, if less measurable, impact. Indeed, the environment in which we work has perhaps a greater effect on us than any other space, and a good office or studio can be essential in helping fledgling thoughts develop into great works of art or industry-changing ideas.
A room of one’s own, as the great Modernist writer Virginia Woolf wrote, is vital for good work. Her celebrated essay on the subject goes much further than considering simply the practical requirements for work, arguing for the figurative, as well as literal, space for female literature and above all, the need for a quiet place without interruption. Fittingly, these ideas are embodied by Woolf’s writing shed, where she produced much of her best-known work, away from the demands of domestic life; a small room, simply furnished, with a desk, a chair and a sofa.
The rooms used by famous writers and artists, the offices of great politicians and thinkers, the studios of sculptors and musicians, are imbued with a certain mysticism. Turned into museums that draw visitors to the site of the nebulous, creative act, they provide a curious window into process and minds of celebrated figures who otherwise live on only in their work. And all these places, varying in size and structure, sometimes neat and austere, sometimes a chaos of books and equipment and ephemera, share with Woolf’s unassuming garden shed the quietness and contemplation, the focus necessary for producing great ideas.
Conscious of the importance of curating a stimulating working environment, Salvatori has produced a series of objects for the home that elevate everyday work. Together with leading designers, we have developed collections that focus the scale we work at, concentrating our expertise with natural stone, metal and leather into precise, beautiful crafted accessories. Balancing, a range of objects designed in collaboration with Studiocharlie, take their form, and name, from a pen holder – a cylinder in Calacatta marble with an incision lined in burnished brass – that can be rocked back and forth before it returns to its original position. The motif of the pale gold veining of the stone and brass continues throughout the collection, which includes a tablet holder, letter opener, document holder and paperweight, all responding to the light and encouraging a tactile interaction with the material, animating the experience of working at a desk.
It’s a similar play of texture and tactility that activates Vincent Van Duysen’s Lui&Lei collection, a series of objects carved from Bianco Carrara and Verdi Alpi stone, and covered with eco-leather in complementary tones. Utilitarian in their function, the tray, paperweight and pen holder, candle holder and container, bring considered and focused design to the quotidian, helping to create a space that is comfortable and encourages expansive and creative thinking. While it might take more than a well curated room to create great works of Modernist fiction or to develop an innovative business plan, it could be key to finding that vital moment of inspiration.