what's on my desk

What’s on Textile Designer Aelfie Oudghiri’s Desk

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 deskspens and notebooks and gadgets, but also décor and tchotchkes. Today, we’ve asked Brooklyn textile designer Aelfie Oudghiri to show and tell.

I live for Dover clip-art books. I’ve been collecting them all since I was a little kid. So cheap and so much inspiration. I think if you were to look at any designer’s desk, they would have a stash of Dover books somewhere. They are thematically really specific. This one is the treasury of animal illustrations, they have another one that’s women’s faces, which is a good one. There are also paisley designs, Celtic illumination, and designs and patterns from historic ornament.

I commissioned these stoned-looking dog things in pink from this cool ceramist in Poland. I keep my markers in it. When I saw them, I was like, “This is amazing. Can you make a ridiculous amount of these and I’ll buy them all?” Something about the design just really spoke to me, though I don’t think it’s supposed to look like it smokes weed.

I saw on Instagram that Annu Kilpeläinen, an illustrator I really like, uses these markers, so I immediately purchased them, thinking, Oh, maybe these will make me a great artist! Apparently, it doesn’t work that way.

When I was pregnant, I splurged on an Aeron chair because every single part of my body ached like hell every time I sat down, and then I sold it because I was short on cash. I was using a normal chair for a while, and then I was like, “Damn, my back hurts.” So I was just Googling around to see if a pink furry-ball chair existed. And I found it. It works because I am a short woman and I don’t fit comfortably in most desk chairs. I wish I could take my pink fur orb with me to restaurants — it’s that good. Plus, I now have abs of steel.

I bought these because of the name, but they also look really cute. The sunglasses I usually wear are round, but they don’t sell those anymore, so I just got these instead. I like cat-eye glasses. I think they’re very flattering. They’re futuristic and vintage at the same time, which is a nice combo.

There are hundreds of carpets in my studio, so to combat that woolly smell, I rely on this ginormous, decadent indoor/outdoor candle. There aren’t a lot of candles that come this big, and most of the indoor/outdoor candles on the market are for mosquitoes and bugs, so there aren’t a lot of great options besides Diptyque. The first time I smelled this candle was at a really fancy baby shower on the Upper East Side, where I walked in and there was this incredible smell. It took me about a year or two to figure out what the candle was, but I finally tracked it down at Club Monaco. They burn it at the Fifth Avenue store. And then it took me another two years to have a reason to buy it. The smell is extraordinary — it really fills up the space.

I keep a little painting by Leah Goren in this frame, which I designed. I have two of her paintings on my desk, one is of one of my rugs and the other is of another one of my side-table designs and my rug. When we had the pop-up store, I had Leah do all these drawings of the event, so these are some of the drawings from the event of the store opening.


Graph paper is such an important part of my creative process, since I create predominately geometric motifs.

My husband watches Law & Order every night. I’m not even going to pretend like that’s not the case. At this point, I’m like a fucking scholar of Law & Order just because I’ve been living with it for … well, my husband and I have been together for ten years. I bought this as a gift for him, but it’s still on my desk.

On Friday nights, I leave my iPhone at work and take my small-ass phone out on the town. It’s my weird way of observing Shabbat (and saying “fuck you” to the man), but I also legitimately love phones and phone design. I got it because I was thinking about my phone usage a lot and how it changes our behavior and how we experience the city and each other. I think as a designer I was like, “Hey, this is really wack that I’m using just one design when there are so many cool phones on Amazon.” There are so many to choose from. Why just use the iPhone?

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What’s on Textile Designer Aelfie Oudghiri’s Desk