Sustainable glass desk creates a stunning visual metaphor for water pollution

We are all probably aware of how polluted our waters have become, but that fact doesn’t always sink in until we’re faced with images or videos of disgusting examples. While unsettling imagery relies on the shock factor to give us a wake-up call, it starts to lose its effectiveness once the images are gone. We could always have these visuals within view, but always seeing these unpleasant things can also have negative effects on our psyches. If one needs a constant reminder of the sad state of our planet’s waters, it might be better if it came in a way that’s less unnerving but just as attention-grabbing. That’s what this elegant desk is attempting to accomplish, and it uses our tendency to keep messy desks to get that message across.

Designer: Nicola Morelli

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Although they don’t need to be immaculately clean, we do need a certain amount of free space on our desks in order to be productive. Clutter blocks the flow of our work, and the mess only piles up over time unless they’re cleaned up. As it turns out, this is the exact same situation with the pollution in our rivers, seas, and oceans, and the in.water concept design ties to associate these two different but related ideas in a subtle yet captivating way.

On its own, the desk is already striking in its minimalist beauty. The piece of furniture is flat-packed and easily assembled, composed of nothing more than two pairs of aluminum legs and a plexiglass tabletop. The table has a translucent gradient that goes from blue to frost white, creating an interesting visual even when it’s devoid of anything on top.

That choice of color is, of course, intentional, and it is meant to convey the image of a clear body of water partially reflecting the blue sky. Once you start piling things on top of it, however, that pristine beauty is immediately shattered. You can no longer enjoy the clarity of the table’s surface, and the translucency of the material only serves to highlight the role of these objects as “clutter.” For even better emphasis, you could try slipping pieces of paper between the top and the metal legs, indicating “trash” that is so deep that they’re not easily removed.


The in.water concept, however, isn’t just a visual metaphor of sustainability that loses its message at the factory. It can be made from 100% recycled plexiglass and aluminum, and its flat-pack design produces less carbon footprint during transportation. With its simple beauty and meaningful design cues, this table design concept sends a more impactful message of how water pollution can be reflected in our daily lives.