Desert Island Desks

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This month’s desert island castaway is John Prior, Associate at CJCT.

1  Victorinox Spartan Swiss Army Knife

I got one of these from my grandpa when I was 12, like a rite of passage using it to carve sticks, later spears, tie fishing line and gut the catch. Practical and robust, the original knife is long since lost or stolen but subsequently replaced and has served me well on many a camping trip or music festival. I’m no Bear Grylls but this basic version has all that you need for my imaginary survival – even the little toothpick for getting all that mango flesh out!

2  Robbie Dick 6’6” Surfboard


There is something at once beautiful and romantic in the outline of a surfboard, which are all crafted by hand. This is the one I learnt on 22 years ago, and while it’s lost its glassy lustre with UV tarnished lacquer, it still is my favourite and has lasted the distance. It has the perfect combination of buoyancy and grace when the swells aren’t too big! I never tire of surfing and wish I could hit the water more often. It’s a form of meditation, as you really need to cleanse your mind of all thoughts and tune into the rhythm of the ocean and work with her forces. Might even be able to use the board for a spot of fishing too!

3  Technics 1210’s


They represent the pinnacle of turntable design engineering. Reliable, technically refined and robust – is there a theme developing here? I have spent hours and hours playing records on them at home, parties or clubs – even a sandy beach in Norfolk – and they are synonymous with good times. In fact I redesigned my flat to accommodate the vinyl. Dancing is the primordial form of communication and expression. Nobody ever feels the worse for dancing. I would of course require a power source, reams of vinyl, pioneer DJ500 mixer, Sennheiser HD25 headphones and half-decent sound system along with a couple of hundred shipwreckers to really get things going.

4  Apple Macbook Pro Laptop

It’s tough to choose a single product from the Apple stable. I bought a Powermac 9600 while at university and since then have always preferred Mac’s over PC’s, as they seem to always have the edge on design and user interface. I’m not one to need the latest piece of technology so I think the Macbook pips the iPod, iPhone and iPad as I use it for everything from mixing music, drawing, presentations, writing and Skyping friends and family overseas. I like the cool touch of the aluminium case and it appears tough and sleek when sitting in the corner of the room, or beach. We’d better throw in a solar charger then!

5  Vitra Organic Chair


Lightweight, comfortable and timelessly elegant. As with many great designs, it’s the result of a competition: ‘Organic Design in Home Furnishings’, where ‘a design can be called organic if, within the object as a whole, there is a harmonious relationship between the individual elements as regards structure, material, and purpose’. I think that description is what we strive for in the work we do. It might not be the top of everyone’s list of design classics, but I think the weight/comfort ratio is unmatched –afterall I’ll need to have a seat that I can easily move to stay in the shade, and it looks a like a manta ray. I hope I look and feel that good when I’m 75 years old.

6  Bic Matic 07 Pencil


While I own a rotring, which has a good weight about it, this is the non-flashy pencil which I tend to use all the time. HB lead with eraser. Sketching out your ideas is imperitive if you’re a designer, and being able to illustrate and visualise your ideas by hand is a dying skill in the electronic age. Using a pencil rather than pen gives the marks a softness by comparison to the more definitive lines of a pen. When sitting around a table, coordinating with other team members, the pencil allows people to modify without ending up with layer upon layer of indecipherable scribbles.
I tend to use the HB as it’s a good middle of the road lead, but you can ‘up’ the hardness if you need a more consistent line. Of course it’s plastic and I’m a little sickened at the thought of our disposable plastic world, the harm it does and my guilty compliance. So I’m just off to try the iPad pro…