It has come to my attention that WFH’s delicious novelty is slowly starting to wear off. Although the lack of a commute and lunchtime strolls around the park still feel like luxurious balms against a difficult workday, the paraphernalia of the day-to-day has become dreary, unexciting and quotidian.
There is the sad pot of ballpoints, a Russian Roulette of guaranteed ink flow atop a desk bought post-haste as the world locked down last year. And there, in the cupboard, are the same three mugs you keep on rotation, an endless continuum of chipped ceramic. The days blur into one, and the apparatus of a life at home does little to elevate your mood.
The solution to this unprecedented slant of domestic ennui could be a little refresh of your WFH inessentials, bringing little moments of joy to your daily routine. And, for those who bind themselves to the written word (as opposed to the typed), carrying with them a pad and paper wherever they go, a new pen is sure to put a spring in their step. In celebration of its 170th anniversary, Burleigh Pottery is stepping away from its usual offering – hand-decorated ceramicware – to launch a limited-edition run of 10 engraved copper pens (see also main pic), which will be available in July to chime with the brand’s official anniversary on 28th (£500).
The pottery, which is the last of its kind to practice the art of tissue transfer printing, is found in Fortnum & Mason, Harrods, Selfridges and Liberty, and also some of the world’s leading hospitality establishments all over the world, including Soho House, Chiltern Firehouse, Bibendum, Gymkhana and the Ned. The brand has also recently collaborated with Ralph Lauren in a monumental transatlantic meeting of design aesthetics.
The copper pen is inspired by the intricate craft of copper engraving, which was the lifeblood of the potteries for over 200 years. Copper rollers are used in the tissue transfer printing process, a ceramic-decorating method that takes five years to become proficient at. There are only 11 people left in the world who have mastered the art, and they all work at Burleigh. Each pen is designed and handcrafted in England from materials of exquisite purity and quality. The result is a unique, contemporary item that will only become more beautiful with age.
Also coming in July is a re-stock of the brand new rechargeable, portable lamp by lighting brand Pooky and interior designer Matthew Williamson. The Phileas lamp (£98), named after the eccentric travelling Englishman from Jules Verne’s 1872 novel Around the World in 80 Days, can be used indoors and out, with a full charge lasting 10 hours. Take the lamp with you from the kitchen island to the study, and from the study to the garden for an after-work al fresco tipple.
Of the lamp, which is a modern take on a traditional spindle light, Williamson says, “I wanted to design a small table lamp reminiscent of those you’d find in old fashioned clubs and restaurants. I’ve always been drawn to the classical elements of these lamps which provide such atmospheric charm to any surface, be it a desk or a bedside table.”
Investing in a good quality desk, meanwhile, will promote productivity, as well as adding ergonomic benefits to your workstation which far outweigh those of a barstool at the breakfast counter. A top pick for work stations that lend a sense of occasion to your working day is the Wellington Desk (£21,000), the product of a collaboration between design studio Albion Nord and the prestigious Chelsea Barracks development in Belgravia. The desk cuts the figure of a traditional campaign desk with an embossed inset leather top and lockable drawers with bronze keys.
Albert Einstein is known to have said, “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?”. With this in mind, some artful clutter should be considered to keep you inspired and personalise your workstation. Candles make all the difference, and there are some very stylish, sophisticated options from fragrance and skincare brand Malin + Goetz (starting from £44). Paperweights also provide texture and depth to an otherwise bare surface, and vintage Murano options are widely available on sites like 1stDibs and Vinterior.
Finally, what is a day of working from home without decent coffee? Without offending any coffee machine maestros, stove-top coffee makers offer a more hands-on, tactile and rewarding way to make your daily dose, adding a sense of ritual to your morning. Some of the best options on the market are those by Alessi and Tom Dixon. Where post-espresso hydration is concerned, look no further than LSA International, the world-leading purveyor of mouth-blown glassware, and its Plateau collection (carafe sets from £60), ideal for your desk-side vessel of water (lemon slices not included).