White office furniture – a good or bad idea?

Henry Ford, founder of the Ford Motor Company made a famous remark about one of their models in the early 1900s stating: “You can have any colour as long as it’s black.”

The same phrase could be applied to office desks in white, such has been the demand for them in this colour in recent years.

It’s all white

“White desks have many benefits.” explains K2 Space furniture consultant Paul Ruffett. “White surfaces reflect light and make a room and the workstation itself appear bigger. White is a timeless colour that can be complemented with corporate colours to create a bespoke office design.”

“The benefits aren’t just restricted to design” says Ruffett. “All manufacturers have a number of white furniture products so you’ll certainly be able to find a solution that meets your budget. Many can be configured as banks of two, four or more – offering you real flexibility for your office layout. What’s more, certain manufacturers keep white desks in stock so delivery times can be considerably less than normal.”

Two examples of white office desks are Linear by Elite and Teknion’s Interpret. These products are popular with a range of clients from financial institutions to digital agencies. Check out our open plan office gallery for some great examples of this in practice.

The emerging trends in the furniture industry are no more evident than at the Orgatec furniture exhibition, which attracts over 50,000 visitors from more than 120 countries every two years.

“The leading furniture brands launched a number of new products at Orgatec and it was noticeable how many of the desk solutions were displayed in light colours. Greys and creams were in fashion and a very nice variation on white.” observes K2 Space designer Harsha Kotak.

Vitra’s stand at Orgatec 2014 displayed a couple of the more extreme examples of modern office desks with its Hack and RAW products. Hack is a wooden table system that can be adjusted to the user’s needs and even packed away if it needs to be.

Wooden office desks

German designer Konstantin Grcic explains how the design of Hack was inspired by a visit to the tech companies of Silicon Valley in a recent interview with Mix Interiors magazine. He states: “These people don’t want anything corporate – they want something that they feel is theirs. They can make [Hack] whatever they need it to be – because it is made of wood it is far easier to do this.”

The Vitra RAW products were originally devised by architect Jean Prouve for industrial companies in France. These were then recently updated when kitting out the head office of fashion brand G-Star RAW in Amsterdam.

“Progressive brands are choosing this type of furniture” says Kotak. “You still have a light surface that reflects light and makes any room look large. The use of a grey top and adding colour with the green metal legs and pedestal makes a statement with colour that you just can’t achieve with uniform, white furniture.”


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