August 24, 2020
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With companies implementing work-from-home policies almost unanimously and indefinitely, here’s how you should design your desk to inspire creativity.

Bringing work to your home used to be discouraged as the day’s end and weekends are typically reserved for me- and family-time. However, the pandemic changed this culture as more companies have been enforcing work-from-home policies to ensure the safety of the management and employees. While every house doesn’t have an environment conducive for working, there are ways to design a home office or a work desk that fosters a healthy, professional space. Investing in the design is crucial, especially now the pandemic is altering the office culture, quite possibly in the long run.

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LEFT: workspace of Cyndi. RIGHT: Cyndi Fernandez, co-founder of Moss Design House.

Pursuing design

We talk to the co-founder of recently rebranded Moss Design House, Cyndi Fernandez-Beltran, in exploring the ways to building your own workspace. Cyndi was born from a family of doctors, but she pursued arts as she has always been interested specifically in design and architecture. “I love transforming spaces, I love the technicals and the science behind creating something beautiful out of nothing,” she says. Thus, when she established then-Moss Manila with husband Amado Victor Beltran, it was a monumental dream that came true. What started as an interior design firm grew into five service platforms—tablescapes and curated party kits, home makeovers, thematic virtual backgrounds, event styling, and an online interior design platform. Cyndi is proud to work on their growing brand. “I like the rush, the adrenaline, and the high it gives when I see the reaction of people the moment they enter a space I have designed,” she explains. Having worked with top tier-global brands like Tom Ford and Netflix, Cyndi knows the ins and outs of design, especially in something that can be personal, like a home office.

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Making it personal

LEFT: Charmaine Lagman. RIGHT: Charmaine’s workspace where she signs important documents and does other work.

“Working in our homes makes it harder for us to separate work from time for ourselves,” Cyndi says. Thus, it is crucial to create a permanent area where you can purely focus on work. One must consider having a proper light source like a window. Charmaine Lagman, the owner of ICNS, Inc., does this for her own workspace. She set up her desk facing their windows where she has a view of their garden. The natural lighting and the peaceful scenery allow her mind and her eyes to refresh, especially when things get hectic. If you don’t have a garden, Cyndi advises, “[Add] a live plant close to your worktable… to keep your space feel alive and warm.”

A closer look at Charmaine’s workspace shows the electric socket is right below the desk. Cyndi stresses its importance as well as having other essentials like writing instruments, files, and a lamp within your reach. “Since you’ll be sitting the whole day,” she adds, “invest on a good ergonomic chair to keep you comfy.”

As a maximalist, Cyndi fills her desk with work essentials and decor. On the leftmost side is a tray for samples and swatches for a project.

Decorating your desk is an entirely different yet enjoyable part. “Minimalists would probably work better on a clutter-free environment, [sticking] to neutrals and earth tones to keep them productive and focused,” Cyndi says. The opposite goes for maximalists, having an “organized mess” can help them be inspired. Filling your wall and your desk with personal objects like family photos, travel mementos, and decors can remind you of good moments and uplift your spirit.

The former game room of Charmaine’s family. She turned into a den where she does Zoom meetings, conference calls, and checks emails.

Charmaine did this to her home office which was previously the family’s game room. “I have several photo displays and coffee table books that I created myself from our family trips and important events,” she says, adding, “These are important to me and make my [workplace] very special.”

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Beside Cyndi’s desk is a mini shelf where she places her books related to art, design, and architecture.
An exquisite ginkgo tray for Cyndi’s jewelry.

The designer’s desk

For a designer like Cyndi, one may expect her to have a well-curated workspace. True enough, her desk reflects her theme of having “well-edited, not over-the-top and understated with subtle luxury.” She may be versatile as her style continues to evolve throughout the years, but describes it as “an adaptation of different period styles but modernizing it with cleaner, more streamlined silhouettes.”

A glance at her workspace reveals her preference for maximalist designs. The desk looks full of essentials and displays. “I usually have a material tray that we curate with samples and swatches depending on the project that we’re doing,” she says. As a designer, materials for sketches remain ever-present like her stack of pencils and books that gives her inspiration. For a visitor, one may wonder why Cyndi keeps a ginkgo plate tray for her jewelry. “The first thing I do when I sit down to work is to remove my accessories so I can freely sketch and do my work,” she explains. Of course, surrounding herself with her favorite scents from Diptyque and Voluspa candles are crucial to keeping her motivated.

Photos of inspiration art and a memento sketch of Cyndi’s three children.

No matter what kind of work you do, designing a workspace is all about making you feel comfortable and motivated amid the uncertainty of the present. Never be afraid to add decors and objects to liven it up. After all, “Making your space personal allows you to work in a relaxing environment and have a space that is truly inspirational,” Cyndi says.

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