Turn your office and desk into a space that makes a statement about you and your work story
A bare desk is a lot to do with the mind. One has more room to think, and without bias
Be it the office or home, we’re constantly making statements about ourselves through our personal presentation. I put in a lot of thought into making my office look a certain way. Clean and minimalist office decor is a good rule to follow for all businesses. It allows one to stay calm and at peace.
My cabin is a combination of a serious work desk and a relaxed lounge area. Pinewood and white walls are the dominant elements.
Over the years, I have realized that a work desk plays a crucial role in the office environment. If it is too sturdy, it can be intimidating, and, if it is rickety, it can be distracting. So when I was designing my room, I decided against having a heavy table. I designed a wall desk that can also function as a standing desk.
One thing I dislike is clutter. Perhaps, that is why my desk is nearly bare. It only has a few items: a calendar, pins, bobby pins and sketch pens, and an intercom. I don’t like food lying around on my desk when I’m working. I don’t have a PC or a laptop because I prefer to work on my iPad. If I had a desktop or laptop, I would have transformed it into a design object by investing in a skin-cover case in cool prints.
One indulgence I cannot resist is accessories for office gadgets that come in bright colours or thematic prints from The Conran Shop, an accessories and gift store in London.
Planning the lighting for an office is very important. I have a top light on my desk, and a bunch of spotlights. I feel yellow light has a more positive impact on the human brain. So the top light is yellow. The spotlights are a combination of white and warm white which don’t manipulate the colours of the fabrics that I’m working with.
I’m of the opinion that how you keep your workspace or what kind of furniture you have in the room will affect your work. I remember I used to have two single-seater sofas. They were so comfortable that the moment I sat on them I’d be half asleep. I could barely get any work done, so I got rid of them.
I have some personal memorabilia around the desk, from awards to magazine covers, caricatures of friends like Wendell Rodricks and his partner Jerome Marrel at their Goa home, a wooden cutout of Lord Ganesha, and an artwork with my favourite quote by Sadhguru (Jaggi Vasudev): “Don’t hold back your love, your joy, your exuberance. Only what you give becomes your quality, not what you hold back.”
I think I’m high in the trait of openness. Openness to new experiences. A bare desk is a lot more to do with the mind. One has more room to think, and think without bias. I have heard and read about a little desk chaos being good. But that doesn’t work for me. Clutter makes my mind go all over the place and affects my productivity.
Also, what your room smells like is important. It can just change the energy, and lift the mood. Whenever I’m in the cabin, I makes sure to light a scented candle. My go-to smell is jasmine as it’s subtle. I usually get my candles from Nicobar. Personal comfort also matters to me. So I jump on the sofa when I’m reading things or sketching something that is not so serious.
I have often been asked if I would buy art for my cabin. But I think behind-the-scenes photographs from work projects lend a more personal touch to the desk. Even when you have visitors, they get a sense of your journey as a professional through these images rather than expensive art pieces.
While change is good, I am fussy about my work desk. I don’t move a thing at my desk, and get upset when people move things around without my knowledge. But I’m big on changing upholstery in the office on and off, adding plants that don’t require much sunlight, and changing scents. I switch between candles and aroma diffusers from Muji. Lavender, orange and grapefruit are some of the essential oils I have.
Masaba Gupta is a fashion designer and founder and creative director of the House of Masaba.
As told to Sandipan Dalal.