Shifting Gears – Bernhardt Shift Casegoods

Shift from Bernhardt Design designed by Lauren Rottet

Shift from Bernhardt Design designed by Lauren Rottet

In architecture school, we were drilled to appreciate the modern movement of mid-century design that sparked the “less is more” mentality and “decorating” with materials not fluff. I consider myself a modernist, but admittedly, I have a soft spot for ornamentation and the frilly stuff. This is probably why I changed majors but kept the minor in design. I can forgo the cheap thrills if the design is of quality and precise, warm and provocative, all without being austere. I think you will agree that the Shift collection designed by Lauren Rottet for Bernhardt Design meets this criteria.

The casegood furnishing line includes several pieces more apt for private corporate spaces, but my favorite piece from the collection is the freestanding cantilevered desk suitable for both offices, work and home. Available in either cherry, maple, anigre, or walnut, the natural wood veneer is laid in an intricate direction that provides some interesting detail on the work surface top. Combined with a brushed stainless steel base that provides the structural support, the desk effortlessly appears to float. In the world of architecture, surfaces, walls, ceilings, and floors are called planes. In this design, the planes appears to shift with each subtle intersection.

Veneer detail of Shift Cantilever Desk

Veneer detail of Shift Cantilever Desk

Detail of Shift's structural base

Detail of Shift's structural base

The designer of the collection is Lauren Rottet, an architect specializing in modern interiors. Her work for various corporate clients also extend well into the contract furnishing market with other designs for giants like Steelcase, Halcon, Decca, and Lees Carpet. She’s like a modern day Florence Knoll, creating timeless designs for today’s workplace. Her amazing portfolio of interior architecture is available at

Furniture and design, such as this, does come with a hefty price tag. The cantilevered desk will run you approximately $7,000, but the investment is one that I believe to be comparable with art. I can imagine this desk in an executive suite with simple, elegant accessories, a sleek laptop computer that can easily be stored in the desk, a Bang Olufsen phone in the corner and a few strategically placed pens laid on the top.  Some day I’ll be so lucky to own this desk. It’s just a matter of shifting gears and making the money to do it. Wish me luck.

For more information about Shift and other furniture from Bernhardt, visit .

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