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On your desk, ASAP

August 28, 2003|Adamo DiGregorio and David A. Keeps | Special to The Times

All work and no playfulness may make Jack a dull boy, but it makes his desk deadly. Whether you punch a clock in an office, or phone, fax and FedEx it in from the comfort of home, the back-to-school season is a perfect excuse to give your workstation an overhaul.

With the advent of the iMac school of design -- which has seen candy-colored translucent plastics molded into everything from microprocessors to microwaves -- there's no longer any need to live with a desktop that is a jumble of drab, mismatched items purloined from the closest supply closet.

Erase black, gray and beige accessories from your desktop and choose instead from items as colorfully bouncy as red rubber CD-ROM and pencil holders or as serene as see-through aquamarine plastic dispensers for modem cords, paper clips and tape.

To keep things tidy yet accessible, Crate & Barrel's hip new home store, CB2, offers storage boxes and wastebaskets in a rainbow of transparent vinyls stretched taut over chrome frames.

Although these plastic and rubber office supplies are priced to move -- and be removed as your whim dictates -- other more hardworking items should be built for long-term employment. A pig-nosed pencil sharpener certainly makes a cute conversation piece, but for a this-means-business look, the hand-assembled 1930s chromed-steel designs of the Spanish company El Casco can't be beat.

Want a desk that exudes executive authority? Choose lightweight yet durable aluminum products such as a business card file or a sculptural scissors and letter opener set. An electric stapler designed by Pierre Garner offers years of stylish service with a 21st century sheen. For the best of all worlds, industrial designer Marc Berthier's Praxis calculator is made from aluminum-colored plastic with translucent rubber keys.

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