How someone organizes their desk can tell you a lot about how they get work done. That’s why we’re stepping into the offices of enviably creative (and productive) people to look at what’s on their desks — pens and notebooks and gadgets, but also décor and tchotchkes. Today, we’ve asked Maisonette co-founder and CEO and Vogue veteran, who planned the Met Gala for years, Sylvana Ward Durrett to show and tell.
That basket is my trash can. When we were working at Vogue, Anna’s office always had a basket as a trash can, and I always thought, That’s so brilliant. You don’t need an ugly metal container for your trash can, as long as you’re not putting liquid in there.
Editor’s note: The exact basket that’s under Ward Durrett’s desk is not available for purchase online, since it’s from Ikea, but this one from Amazon has a very similar shape and color scheme.
You need trays for papers, places to put your pens, things like that, but I’ve really tried to stay away from the classic office-supply things you might see on a desk, particularly in a more corporate environment, and replace them with things you would see in your home that are versatile and work for both. I love this John Derian tray. It’s really big, so it houses a lot of things. We have more coming for our actual papers.
We’re obsessed with these pens in our office. They’re the fine Sharpie pens. We literally run out of them all the time. They’re super fine, so it’s not like a Sharpie marker, but it writes really nicely. When I write my notes, I’m pretty organized, so I like to color-code things, and I like things very neat and organized, so this is kind of my obsession.
Those are from Jayson Home, which is a store I love. They’re kind of playful with the spikes. We’re really into the black-and-white, so the pencils are black, the pens are black, the ceramic is white. When you’re in your offices as long as we are, day to day, you need things that make you happy to look at every so often. I like the contrast.
That’s a lip balm; it’s called the Hydra Beauty Nourishing Lip Care. It’s heaven; it feels so good on your lips. I reapply it probably 15 times a day. I typically will have a hand cream on my desk, as well, though I don’t know where mine is at the moment. I think I probably ran out of it. I go through a bunch, but Tata Harper makes one right now that I really like. But those are really the only two things I’m constantly reapplying, daily, at my desk.
I have photos all over the office, though I’m sort of bad at reprinting. So I have a lot of photos of my first son because your first kid gets a lot of photos taken of them — but I have three children, and I haven’t done a good job of replenishing the photos and updating them. So these have been sitting in my various offices over the years. There’s one of my husband and me; that’s when I ran the Met Gala when I was pregnant with my second daughter, Gracie. This frame was a gift from Tory Burch a couple of Christmases ago. Frames are such a good gift to give, and most of them I’ve gotten as gifts. We have a vendor on-site, Aerin Lauder — I love her frames. The photo of my husband and me is in an Aerin Lauder frame; she has a great variety and they’re good for kids’ rooms, as well.
My co-founder Luisana [Mendoza de Roccia] and I share this desk, so we both sit behind it. We’re a start-up, so our offices are not enormous — though we feel like they’re enormous compared to my kitchen table, which is where we started. But we still share an office, and we share this desk, and that’s why we have two chairs. We obviously wanted to be able to hold meetings in here as well, so we have two chairs in front. And in terms of the design aesthetic, we feel like the blond wood and the white is really cheerful and uplifting. We actually sell a lot of these chairs on Maisonette. They’re super comfortable, they’re really lightweight, you can move them all around, and they go with everything. And they’re playful. The woven seats give them a childlike playfulness that isn’t as serious as flat-paneled leather.
The speaker is a Bluetooth speaker, for when we have conference calls. We can connect our iPhones, which is great. I don’t have a desktop because I take my computer home with me at night; a lot of times, I’ll leave the office around 5 p.m., so I can get home in time for bedtime and baths with the kids, and after they go to sleep, I’m back online, so I can do work from home.
That’s an Hermès notebook that I got as a gift when I was at Vogue that has my initials on it. It’s great because you can replenish the notebook pages when you’re done with it, and you can keep it. It’s soft; it doesn’t weigh a ton. I’ve had it forever. I love it. The leather wears nicely, and it’s a good size. It’s traveled with me across my career.
The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best women’s jeans, rolling luggage, pillows for side sleepers, ultra-flattering pants, and bath towels. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.
Every editorial product is independently selected. If you buy something through our links, New York may earn an affiliate commission.