When I was a child, my father once took me to Miami’s Freedom Tower. We ventured from the alabaster steps and lemon colored stone of the exterior, through the terrazo-clad portico, into a spacious elevator draped in luxurious velvet, and down a long, dark corridor on the 32nd. floor. I don’t recall the purpose of the visit, nor do I remember who my dad was going to see, but I do retain a vivid image of the desk we encountered beyond the office doors: a dramatic stainless steel affair that etched itself deeply into my memory.
Rio desk. Manufactured by Arnold Reception Desks.
It resembled a ship’s prow, the twin sides swooping away in a gorgeous expanse of blue-tinged glass, the receptionist manning the helm—as it were—perpetually at the ready with a voice like a calm, dark sea. I left the experience with a commanding sense of reverence and awe, as well as an equally profound conviction that I never wanted to work in an office. Notwithstanding my personal predilections, Rio by Arnold Reception Desks, Inc. (ARD) jogs that particular memory, reminding me of that archetypal environment for which I retain the same degree of fearful apprehension and awe.
Rio has the same profile as that iconic desk of my childhood. Structured to maximize space for visitors, “Rio features a tapered chassis which permits the visitor to interact comfortably with the receptionist.” Further, the wide expanse formed by the elongated V (on the receptionist’s side) creates an excellent storage/movement space—ideal for rolling files and/or the constant back and forth that comprises said hostess’ working day. But the feature that most resonates for me is the raised glass counter that mimicks the very shape of the desk. Perched atop inverted stainless steel cones (“standoffs,” in industry parlance), the surface is streamlined and clean, nicely balancing the somewhat contradictory messages of accommodation and impenetrability. So if you want your office entry to look serious yet welcoming, severe yet somewhat serene, Rio might be the desk you’re after.