this thing's incredible

This (Positively Scandinavian) Flat-Pack Desk Slots Together Like a Jigsaw Puzzle

Photo: Laura Roddy

Like most people who work in an office, I found myself unexpectedly working alongside my partner at our glass-topped kitchen table in March. He works in IT, I’m a news journalist, which meant that most days were spent listening to each other’s Zooms, while trying to concentrate. By the second month of lockdown, I relocated to my tiny bedroom in the hope of being more productive. This meant I needed a desk.

Unsure of how long I’d be out of the office and with an apartment lease up in September, I needed a table that could be easily tucked behind a door or transported to a new flat. The desk also had to be strong enough to support my monitor, laptop, keyboard and mouse, and fit in the gap between my bedroom locker and chest of drawers. However, there were no desks to be found. Some frantic online searching took me to Flying Elephant. The company was founded in 2015 by Max Fox and Michael Keelan — a set of festival stage-makers. With festivals cancelled, they pivoted to making tables from chipboard they had already ordered. For someone that spends two months deciding the best colour coffee cup to buy, I hit the buy button surprisingly fast.

It arrived the very next day, in a flat pack with a printed A4 page of instructions. It slotted together like a 3-D jigsaw puzzle in minutes, requiring no nails or hammers. Light in colour, the table brightened up my dark room in an unexpected way. In fact, when paired with my Made Flynn desk chair and matching grey lamp, it looks positively Scandinavian. At 115 centimetres wide and 58 deep, there’s enough space to hold my belongings comfortably. While it fitted neatly under the bedroom window of my flat, it looks equally as good in the garden cabin I currently work from. (Yes, my lease ended.) It is also very sturdy. I’m not planning to jump on it anytime soon, but it has four layers of chipboard stuck together, and sanded down: this means no splinters. The legs of the desk are angled, which may add to its durability — there’s no chance of it folding.

In the five months since I have owned it, I have convinced two friends who are also working from home to invest (one works in communications for a charity and the other is a solicitor). Both work from the desk in their bedrooms and dissemble it every evening when they’re finished work for the day. While I admire their patience, I will likely keep the disassembly for the day I go back to the office. When that day comes, I intend to stuff the desk unobtrusively behind a door (or at the top of my wardrobe) until working from home beckons again.

Some other Strategist-recommended desks

Vasagle Computer Desk

Strategist audience development manager Rosie found this desk through some intense Amazon sleuthing. She writes: “It’s the perfect height for me to sit at all day without slumping, and no matter how aggressively I type, it stands solid thanks to the adjustable feet on each leg that accommodate even our wonky floorboards.”

If you don’t have the space for a desk, contributor Issy Sampson recommends a cushioned lap tray (the sort beloved by grandmas). “It keeps the laptop level and steady, the computer doesn’t overheat, and it’s actually comfortable.”

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This (Almost Scandinavian) Desk Slots Together Like a Jigsaw