Just like our tastes in fashion, the general state of our workspaces can say a lot about our personalities. Some of us are messy, some of us are minimal, and some of us sit somewhere in between. But chances are that our friends and families, if they knew us well enough, wouldn’t be surprised at the general state of our work desks.

But what about famous people? What would you imagine the offices of renowned authors, designers, and artists to look like? With that question in mind, this week we thought we’d share some images of famous and (/or) inspiring workspaces. From Albert Einstein to Pablo Picasso, these are the desks of icons.


Martin Amis, writer


In Amis’s own words, “I used to have the attic in the house and Isabel, my wife, was meant to have this office, but I didn’t think she used it enough so I reclaimed it. It’s ideal – you can’t hear the children and you can smoke.” [via Guardian UK]

Willem de Kooning, artist

Spacious, light, and just a little bit industrial. This is a big inspiring workplace for big inspiring work.

Yvez Saint Laurent, fashion designer

This space is a brilliant combination of clarity and clutter. It’s bright, spacious, and breezy, but there’s a lot of stuff too. It’s just well organised.

Ray Eames, furniture designer

Pablo Picasso, painter

Suitable enough for Picasso. It’s hard to tell which stands out more in this space, the vast assortment of pottery and canvases or the red shorts. . .

Paul Cézanne, painter

The stand out feature here has to be the enormous window. There’s so much light that it’s hard to imagine not being inspired in a studio like this.

Milton Glaser, graphic designer


Small, modest, but very personal. There’s something of a chaotic order to the objects nailed up to the wall. And it seems as though the look of this space might have been uniform throughout much of his career, as Glaser is quoted saying, “I hate change, except in the work itself. I still work at my desk in the same way as I’ve done for the last 60 years…” [via from the desk of]

Haruki Murakami, writer

Japanese author extraordinaire and long-time jazz enthusiast. Murakami seems to have opted for a record collection in place of a bookshelf, and it’s a pretty hefty collection at that. . .

Albert Einstein, physicist

Papers, papers, more papers, and a bunch of equations on a chalk board. Classic Einstein.

E. B. White, writer

If there’s a more minimal workspace in existence, we’d like to see it.

Chip Kidd, book cover designer

Lots of forward-facing book covers on those shelves, and not so many spines. Truly the shelf-space of a designer.

Alexander Calder, sculptor

For anyone out there with a cluttered workspace, remember that someone else always has it worse. . .

Lists, lists, lists

For more lists of top quality design, why not take a look at 10 Beautifully Eye-Catching Book Cover Designs, and 12 Amazingly Creative Packaging Design Ideas.