What does your desk say about you? Rachel Withey

In this series Design Insider will be speaking to designers, architects and directors to find out more about their working space and what this says about them. We caught up with Rachel Withey, Associate Director and Interior Designer at 74. 

74 is a Manchester-based, collaborative architecture, interior design and placemaking practice, specialising in student living, workplace and hospitality projects. Design-led and commercially-astute, everything the company does is based around people-centricdesign.

Being a creative, rapid thinker and an ‘organised chaos’ personality type, I don’t have a permanent desk space and am completely agile. Effectively, my rucksack is my portable desk.  I’m someone who needs to move around and change environments, including changing my surrounding sounds and lighting, depending on what I’m working on and the type of focus I need.  My colleagues always know where I’ve been during the day by the trail of destruction! The three things that constantly move around with me on my daily journeys are pretty stable, however… 

weare74-deskTEA (1)

A cup of tea. There will always be tea!


My pencil case and notepad. I always need these to hand, whatever tasks I’m doing and wherever I am.  I constantly jot down, doodle, sketch and braindump thought processes and ideas to capture them in that exact moment and in their purest form, so that I can ground my thinking and process and formulate it later. 

My current project task pile. Right now, I’m finalising and reviewing the finishes selection for a project in Birmingham that’s due for completion late summer.  Its always one of my favourite stages of a project, when an initial highlevel concept becomes a reality in physical form. 

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About Alys Bryan

Alys is a knowledgeable design editor who is focused on instigating conversations, both online and in-person, with industry experts which challenge, educate and advance the commercial interior sector. Her training and 15 years of professional experience as a furniture designer for the commercial sector makes her uniquely placed to lead Design Insider as Editor
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