1.) What is your name and where in the WWW (Whole Wide World) do you live?
Stephan: My name is Stephan Riess and I live in Munich, Germany.
2.) What do you do for a living, what pays the bills? And what is the thing you do when you are not doing the thing that pays the bills?
Stephan: I work as an Online Art Director and I am the Team Lead for a Design Team. When I am not doing that you can usually find me doing a few different things;
- Doodling in my sketchbook (should be doing more of this),
- Working on some little online side projects,
- Writing a bit,
- Acquiring “hands on skills” with the usual batch of software,
- Thinking (dreaming…) about design and art direction in a holistic sense, without using the word “monetize”,
- Dealing with my photography,
- Doing something with my hands, like silly little toys or paper mock-ups,
- Working in the garden and watching the plants grow,
- Reading books, preferably the ones which enlarge my understanding of the world,
- Reading online news (most times a useless and painful waste of time),
- Procrastinating, which for me means: Flickr, Facebook, Twitter and the aforementioned news trolling,
- Hiking in the Alps,
- Creating music,
- Listening to music,
- Learning English and Portuguese,
- Playing with my kids,
- Doing homework with the kids,
- Trying to stay in contact with friends and family from all over the world,
- Keeping our old VW Camper Van running,
- Watching Lost and Breaking Bad,
- Taking care of the taxes and bills (hate it…),
- Doing nothing (Should be done more often)
3.) How much of what you do, personally or professionally, gets done at the work space featured?
Stephan: A lot, most of which is not directly linked with my day job.
4.) Typically, what time of the day do you normally find yourself at this desk, and for how long? Night owl, early bird?
Stephan: During the week; usually between 9:30 and 11:00 pm. On the weekends you can sometimes find me there early in the morning and late at night (which could also be considered very early morning). Never on afternoons (which is spent preferably sleeping or being outside).
5.) How much of what gets done at your desk is for work, how much is it to scratch your own creative itch?
Stephan: 40% blurred between general info gathering and solving defined problems, 60% freestyle creative stuff (…including procrastinating).
6.) What are the essentials that can be found on your desk more times than not? How about those items just out of reach or out of sight? If it’s not on top of your desk what are the things you most often grab out of a top draw or cabinet?
7.) What beverage/food/snack can one usually find at your desk, and why?
Stephan: Water. Sometimes some fruits, or, in the event my wife is in a good mood and prepares it for me, some yogurt with fresh fruits.
8.) Do you have any reasoning or anecdotes that lend some insight into why your desk is setup the way it is, or the thinking behind certain item(s)? How about the things around your desks? Decoration, wall art, figurines, statues, etc? Any particular reason behind those?
Stephan: I have studied architecture, and I have always liked the way architects offices were laid out, especially the white pin boards all along the office walls. The table top of my desk is made from my old architects desk, which I got for free from a government agency, back in the day when I was a student.
So this means I have worked on this same piece of wood for the last 20 years.
I like simple places and things, but they have to have soul and some style. I guess my desk has both, though some people may disagree.
As for the decorations and items that can be found around the office I think you will find many nice things. But definitely some clutter too. There are a few handmade items, and there is a story behind each of them.
9.) How much of what you do, or aspire to do, influences your desk setup, tangibly and intangibly.
Stephan: A lot. I am a designer. It’s a lifestyle. Family and spiritual issues influence the setting as well. Another factor is the budget, I would love to own an Eiermann table-top support.
And a Vitra chair.
10.) Are you a Mac or are you a PC? What machine(s) are setup and used at your desk? If you are a little bit of both tell us why. How about any other tech gear that can be found at your desk or in your home?
Stephan: I am a Mac but I used to be a PC back in the nineties. I got my first Pismo PowerBook G3 in 2000 and still own it today. My current setup includes a MacBook Pro from ‘06, an Apple Cinema Display from ‘09, and a Drobo storage device.
11.) What’s the one piece of gear you could not live without?
Stephan: The MacBook. Though I always enjoy a non-computer environment as well, in which case I would say my sketchbook. Strange, huh? Even more strange: Sometimes I really like to be disconnected from the internet, it helps to focus on the important things.
12.) What piece of gear cannot be found on your desk, but you wish it could be?
Stephan: I am probably the last design and technology related person without an iPhone. So, while I know it is already becoming a bit cheesy thing to say, but I really would love to own one. But I did like the first model with the metal back a bit better than the plastic backs on the current generation. That, and the high price, are my excuses for not buying a new one.
A new 13” MacBook Pro with a matte screen. An iMac also coupled with a non-glossy (matte) screen.
I am also searching for a modern land line phone comprising good design, but can’t find one. It’s surprising how ugly 99% of the phones available are. And the other 1% left are just too expensive.
13.) Software; what do you use more often than not. What helps you get the job done? And what do you not use, but hope one day to incorporate in your workflow?
Stephan: The Adobe Creative Suite in general gets plenty of use, but I would like to use Adobe Illustrator more often. Beside the standard Apple on board software: Coda, Things and MindManager. I would love to know how to program interactivity with openFrameworks, Processing, etc. Maybe in another lifetime.
14.) If you could change one thing about your desk, or the room it is currently in, what would that be?
Stephan: I would love to have less clutter around, especially cables. But somehow things seem to grow out of nothing. Guess I have to scale down on the muck again soon.
15.) Workspace Breakdown; Think of as many things as possible that comprise the setup of your office or workspace, anything from the paint on the walls to the floor mat your chair rolls on, and list them out. Who makes your desk, how about the cabinet next to your desk, your lamp, the overhead light fixture? Anything and everything you can see in the pictures shown, give as much color and background on these items as time and memory permits.
- Lots of IKEA stuff. The lamps, the shelves, the sofa, and the sideboard, just to name a few.
- Some plants (not from IKEA).
- Some nice ceramic peaces from a friend of mine who is a very good potter.
- Some memories from Brazil and India.
If you would like to learn more about Stephan Riess, his workspace, or his work, you can find him at the sites listed below;
Flickr - “isar21”
Twitter - @isar21