SA Creatives Show Us Their Desks

We take a look at desks from a few of South Africa's creatives to inspire us to create a beautiful WFH space.

Supplied, Unsplash

SA Creatives Desks

When it comes to the most artistic of individuals, it’s not uncommon to find they work in the messiest of offices: paper strewn across desks; swatches haphazardly flung into every corner, as if forgotten in the process of creation; piles of notebooks almost torn at the spine, brimming with ideas and references; and, if you’re in the business of publishing, like we are, old magazines and newspapers stacked up to the ceilings, still providing inspiration to this day.

Other designers, stylists, makers and thinkers prefer their desks to be the picture of precision: freshly sharpened pencils organised into containers, filing systems delineated by colour and to-do lists on which tasks actually get ticked off. To showcase the diversity in the business of creativity, we took a look at the workspaces in which some of our favourite local influencers spend their nine-to-five (there's also some pretty clear-cut evidence here that no creative can get through a day without coffee).


ALSO READ: 8 Ideas for Your Home Office


Keith Henning

Fashion designer, Adriaan Kuiters, co-founder AKJP
Photograph:  Niquita Bento


'I have had the Persol box that holds all my art supplies since my studies. I have accumulated the materials inside over my time working as a designer. Having it on my desk reminds me of how far I've come.'

What can you not do without on a workday?

Coffee and my darling design assistant, Nicky.

What should every office have?

A daily planner/ diary – preferably Moleskine.

Biggest perks of working where you do?

Our studio is just down the road from our store, AKJP Collective, on Kloof Street. We are within walking distance of everything we need, so our location is ideal.

Follow Keith on Instagram: @akjpcollective


Siphiwe Mpye

Editor and publisher of
Photograph: Xolani Dani 

'The Steve Biko pic was a cover mount in a local magazine from some years back. His image reminds me that - as the kids would say - we need to 'stay woke' at every moment. Although I am a words guy, amateur photography is something I have dabbled in over the years. I am not bad at it (but I am told that a good camera goes a long way towards deluding one into Santu Mofokeng ambitions).'

What can you not do without on a workday?

Coffee, usually three before lunchtime. I am trying to be a better person, but not winning right now.

What should every office have/your desk essential?

I am not into having too many possessions or trinkets lying around. Having said that, a notebook – I will always be a writer at heart – and external drive have taken me a long way. Every office needs a working – and in my case, industrial grade – printer.

Biggest perks of working where you do?

I work in the painfully hip part of Braam, which means that beards, Nike Air Maxes, high-waisted jeans and overpriced craft beer are the order of the day. On the upside, that kind of proximity to cool young people is essential to my work as creative director at Livity Africa, a youth engagement and social impact agency. Additionally, there are six coffee shops within walking distance to fuel my habit.

Follow Siphiwe on Instagram: @siphiwempye


Kelly Fung

Head of Editorial at Superbalist 

'I have cute plants given to me by past interns. They are especially dear to me because I don’t need to really take care of them – I have no idea how to keep a plant alive. Diaries and notebooks are my lifesaver; I am a multi-tasking maniac and it’s cheesy but I need to write everything down if I am going to keep anything in my head for more than 10 seconds. Finally, very special to me is the big Issey Miyake book that was given to me on my visit to the Design Studio in Tokyo – it’s just a little reminder to KEEP GOING!'

What can you not do without on a workday?

My phone, my interns and a snack.

What should every office have?

Every office should have coffee, the good kind, and inspiring imagery.

What are your desk essentials?  

Notebooks, stickers, post-its, colourful paperclips – anything to make a mound of paperwork seem bearable. 

Follow Kelly on Instagram: @x_kellyfung_x


Craig Raeside 

Owner of Créma Design

'Tom Dixon does some amazing desk accessories and stationery. My desk, chair and lamp are by HAY, Denmark.'

What can you not do without on a workday?

Coffee. And my computer, of course.

What is your desk essential?

My notebook. I’m a list person; if I can’t write it down and prioritise I feel like my day is a mess.

Biggest perks of working where you do?

Beautiful things. I am constantly surrounded by some of the best design on the planet. And I’m the person who gets to choose what to bring in; it’s a design shopping dream come true!

Follow Créma Design on Instagram:


Heather Moore

Textile designer and illustrator, owner at Skinny laMinx

'I love scouring flea markets and junk shops, looking for overlooked treasures. The little carved bird is something I love. I can’t tell if it’s African or Japanese. The photo of me and my husband (artist Paul Edmunds) was taken at the place we got married, 10 years to the day! We visited LA last year, where I cemented my idea of a fabric collection based on brise soleil brick walls.'

What can you not do without on a workday?

Tea and lemons! I’ve gone mad for Yogi Tea’s liquorice tea, and I also love a cup of hot water with lemon.

What is your workspace essential?

I have cork pinning boards on every wall for keeping track of ideas and notions. Although Pinterest is useful for noting down ideas and colours, I also love to print out pics that inspire and pin them on my real-life boards.

Biggest perks of working in your industry?

I get to play around in my studio, looking for ideas, and I get to travel to amazing places!

Follow Heather on Instagram:  @skinnylaminx


Monya Eastman

Furniture designer, owner at Stokperd

'I can't do without my tape measure. Stationery is an essential too – some of my favourite brands are koh-i-noor, Muji, and Colleen Pencil. I also need my lipstick-smudge mug by Jeanne von Hirschberg. The old wooden ruler was a find at the Oriental Plaza in Joburg.'

What can you not do without on a workday?

Music and deep breaths.

What should every office have?

A sketchpad for ideas!

Biggest perks of working where you do?

I work at Ideas Cartel, which is like a work hotel! It's in the city and has incredible views and a great community of entrepreneurs.

Follow Monya on Instagram: @stokperd


Kayli Levitan

Co-founder of The Street Store and former M&C Saatchi Abel Creative Group Head

'The “pencils” are some of the awards that we’ve won for The Street Store. The drawings are from one of my nieces and from friends, the gold Champagne bottle reminds me of the good times, when things get tough.'

What can you not do without on a workday?

It’s a cliché, but coffee. All day, son.

What should every office have?

A comfortable couchy area/outside area to escape to. Sitting at your desk is not always conducive to great work.

Follow Kayli on Instagram: @KayliVee


Hannerie Visser

Founder and creative director of Studio.H

'I collect interesting, fun items and packaging samples when I travel. I can never have enough books and magazines, especially cookbooks and food mags, around me. Whenever I am stuck I page though them for inspiration.'

What can you not do without on a workday?

A flat white from Jason Bakery.

What should every office have?

Our office is designed as a co-working space with big Gregor Jenkin tables that allow people to sit wherever they want. This way you never get bored of your desk and it allows for a more organic, collaborative work style.

Biggest perks of working in your industry?

We always see the fun and crazy of the behind-the-scenes that most people never get to experience.

Follow Hannerie on Instagram: @hannerievisser, @studio_h_,


ALSO READ: Hannerie Visser, Studio H And The Future Of Food