3 Creatives share their routines & must-have tools

Today we launched the revamped Layout Table, using the opportunity to explore how different creatives organise their space.

Our chosen everyday objects speak volumes about us, which is reflected in the collective fascination about what you’ll find on someone’s bedside table or in the depths of their bag. We think the same way about desks: pens or pencil? Paper or digital? Neat and tidy or organised chaos?

Layout Table drawer detail

As we launch our revamped Layout Table - a piece of furniture designed with creative types in mind - we couldn’t resist exploring the concept. The Layout Table has a wide worktop that’s perfect for drawing, model-making and writing. It also comes with three tool trays with different storage capabilities, so you can pick your favourite based on your stationary needs - whether fine liners, sketching pencils or drafting compasses!

What’s in your drawer?

To explore the idea we caught up with three creatives to peek inside their space, their pencil case and their creative brains. Meet Kano’s lead designer, Bruno Schillinger, Olivia of OLIVIA LEE Studios, and photographer Ollie Hammick - and find out what goodies they’d stash in their Layout Table drawer!

Olivia from OLIVIA LEE Studio

Olivia Lee is a Singaporean industrial designer whose multidisciplinary studio focuses on uncovering new rituals and behaviours, navigating the tension between tradition and the future, and bringing brands into unexplored territories through design and narrative.

Olivia Lee portrait
Olivia Lee’s Layout Table drawer

Having graduated from Central Saint Martins with First Class Honours in Product Design, Olivia has since gone on to produce work for clients ranging from Samsung to the British Council. Her designs have been presented at the likes of Triennale di Milano and Maison et Object Observatoire de la Maison, and featured in numerous publications including Wallpaper*, Icon and Dezeen.


We caught up with Olivia to talk about her routine, dream desk views and what goodies she’d have stashed away in her Layout Table drawers.

‘Instrument of Beauty’, designed by Olivia Lee

‘Instrument of Beauty’, designed by Olivia Lee

What three things are essential for you to get your work done? Loose A4 sheets of paper, a good ballpoint pen and my laptop.

What one item would you stash in your Layout table drawer if you had one? Bulldog clips (they have so many uses).

Best place you ever worked away from your desk? Even though I have my own desk in the studio, I always gravitate to the giant long table. Space; I love lots of space.


What’s the one thing that would make your typical work day better? Good music streaming on the studio sound system or discovering a new leaf from my monstera - they grow up so fast :’)

If you could see one person’s desk whose would it be (and why)? I think I would really love to see the desk of Luca Iaconi-Stewart. He’s an American artist who makes fully articulated model aeroplanes. In paper. To scale.

Finish this sentence: in 10 years, everyone will be working from …self-driving offices

What can’t you live without on your desk? I swear by Mark’s A5 vertical weekly layout planner/agenda/diary. It’s the only format I use. The size, the visualisation of time and the nice ziplock compartment are perfect.

Bruno Schillinger: Designer for Kano

Bruno is a process-led multi-disciplinary designer with a focus on objects and interactions, composition, shape and material. His approach is rooted in his fascination for people: their spaces habits, emotions, perceptions, feelings and frustrations.

Bruno Schillinger portrait
Bruno Schillinger’s Layout Table drawer

Bruno graduated from Central Saint Martins with a BA (hons) Product Design and is currently busy designing products for Kano; the built-it-yourself computer company that inspired our modular Kano Units - launched just last week!

Kano Storage

Where are you based and why is it a great city? I live in Brixton, in an old victorian town house, where you can find me working on my own projects. The rest of the time I am based in Whitechapel, working as lead product designer for Kano Computing. London has a great design community - and a cast network of really inspiring folks, particularly in the realm of tech, electronics and digital design.

Best place you ever worked away from your desk? I worked in an old attic room of a large building in Shoreditch on some Kano products with a few designers from MAP project office for a few months in 2016, plastering every wall with concept sketches and post-its. It was nice to have a temporary, large space dedicated to a single project only, where I was able to escape the distractions of an open plan office. Incidentally, that room now houses Barber Osgerby’s studio.

If you could see one person’s desk whose would it be (and why)? Maywa Denki. He is this incredible designer of musical contraptions from Japan who’s inner workings and workplace I would love to see (and to know if it is as chaotic and eccentric as his inventions). Mainly I would just like to know if he even has one!

What can’t you live without on your desk? I’m a serial pen mis-placer and generally prefer cheaper, more accessible stationary. Pentel sign pen in my go to - but increasingly I like drawing in sharpie. Seeing as I work mostly with 3D form, my scalpel is just as important as pens - and I exclusively use a swann morton steel scalpel with 10A blades. I also have a beautiful Japanese pair of scissors which always come in handy.

Photographer Ollie Hammick

Ollie is a photographer based in London, specialising in interiors and architecture. Ollie actually works on a Layout Table daily, so he’s the perfect person to round off this piece!

Ollie Hammick portrait
Ollie Hammick’s Layout Table drawer

What are the most important items stashed away in your Layout Table drawer? It’s got to be my glasses, stylus pen for retouching images and emergency memory card- you’ve always got to have one of those to hand!

Best place you ever worked away from your desk? I go down to my Mums place in Sussex about four times a year and take all my gear, which gives me a fresh perspective. It’s outside London, so the stress levels are by default a lot lower!

If you could see one person’s desk whose would it be (and why)? Mark Mahaney the photographer. I’ve been following him for ages and I really like what he does. I’d like to see how he organises his bits and bobs, whether he’s messy or clean. I think when you have admiration for someone, getting just a small taste of how they work is satisfying and somewhat leveling.

What’s your approach to staying on top of everything? Frame of mind. I need to approach my day/tasks with a positive, confident head. Having a good filing system is super important: I used to have files everywhere and wondered why I got confused all the time. It was taking up a huge amount of headspace that I can now use to do other, more important things.

What three things are essential for you to get your work done? A calibrated monitor, a comfy chair and electronic music.

Ollie is available for commercial shoots - get in touch!

Photography by Peter Guenzel, OLIVIA LEE studio and Josh Worley

Designs featured in this article