A PARTNER AFTER OUR OWN HEART: DISCOVER EXTRAORDINARY TWO-SIDED PARTNER DESKS
Partner desks may often be grouped together with executive desks, but make no mistake about it: partner desks are in a league of their own. Designed to seat two, these large, two-sided desks possess unique benefits that few other desks do. Partner desks evolved out of 19th century England. As banking became a more common profession, partner desks were created so that two banking partners—typically a senior banker and their junior partner—could sit opposite each other during the workday. Most antique partner desks are designed to mimic the look of two standard pedestal desks pushed together back-to-back. There are banks of drawers on both sides and a large hollow tunnel between the pedestals, designed to accommodate each sitter’s legs. Today, partner desks are revered for their ability to float in a room. Since there is no backside to a partner’s desk, they can be admired from all angles.
Because partner desks were created in the late 1800s, it is common to find antique partner desks in Victorian styles. Eastlake partner desks are large, dark wood, Victorian-era desks typically featuring high-relief, geometric carvings. Chippendale partner desks are also prevalent, given that Chippendale was a style that was still heavily trending in the late 1800s. Oftentimes, antique Chippendale partner desks do not feature banks of drawers on both sides, but rather are designed to look like a wide table. While most partner desks are square, it’s common to find models from the Victorian era composed of different shapes, such as an oval or kidney bean.
If you’re not drawn to extremely traditional designs, consider modern partner desks, which range in style from campaign to Mid-Century Modern to Danish Modern to French provincial. Florence Knoll, who spearheaded office design at legendary furniture manufacturer Knoll, famously designed a Partner desk composed of nothing more than a splayed-foot aluminum pedestal base and plank-style top. Other makers who took on the style in the Mid 20th century include Heywood- Wakefield, Kittinger, and John Widdicomb.