I don’t just love a creative, well-styled workspace; I crave one. Put another way, I can’t stand working in a bland, sterile environment. That’s why I’m always on the lookout for items that can add some color or sophistication or even some inspiration of some sort to my office. Like Apple’s Jony Ive, I like to surround myself with well-crafted products as I craft my own products—like this review.
That’s why I was drawn to the Grovemade Desk Collection in the first place; it’s a set of organizational desk decor made out of wood that’s available in two varieties: walnut and maple. Included in the set are a monitor stand, a laptop stand, a keyboard tray, a mouse pad, a wrist pad, a pen cup, a walnut dish (for storing things like paperclips), a couple of planters, a desk lamp and an iPhone dock.
I first became acquainted with Grovemade when I reviewed the company’s Maple iPhone 6 Plus Case—one of my all-time favorite iPhone cases (be sure to check it out if you haven’t already).
I had the opportunity to test out the walnut versions of the laptop stand, mouse pad, pen cup, dish, a planter and desk lamp. I’m very impressed by how solid and smooth the wood is; from the second you unwrap these items it’s obvious that you are holding a very high-quality product. The design gives off a bit of a retro/hipster feel—thanks in large part to the included Einstein-style lightbulb—but an executive’s desk would also make a perfect home for this desk set.
The laptop stand immediately made my desk feel about 10x cooler. I love how the front and back edges are angled, rather than being flat. That one detail adds so much style and character. This is one large piece of wood and it looks amazing; the wood grain brings a more natural feel into the office.
Depending on how your desk sits and whether or not you are using a laptop case or cover, the typing angle is fairly comfortable. I’ve got my laptop—an 11-inch MacBook Air—hooked up to a 27″ Apple monitor, so I won’t be doing a lot of typing on the laptop sitting on the laptop stand. During testing I had a GYMLE case on my MacBook Air and the metal lip that holds your laptop on the stand made it a bit tricky to open the laptop. Not impossible or even very difficult, just tricky.
The Grovemade mouse pad is excellent. It’s slightly larger than a normal mouse pad you might pick up at Office Depot or on Amazon, but I like that. It’s got a wood pen/stylus holder that is a nice touch and most importantly is works much better than a “regular” mouse pad. The mouse pad I was using prior to the Grovemade was wearing out—my Apple Magic Mouse was having difficulty registering movement because the surface had become so smoothed—the Grovemade mouse pad fixed that (even though it’s surface is a bit smooth itself—but it works and it works well).
The desk light is interesting. It’s not super bright—probably because it doesn’t have a shade and Grovemade didn’t want to blind you—so it feels like it exists for purely aesthetic reasons. The lightbulb itself does look great—it has a sort of dull orange glow that makes me feel inventive. But because it is so short it feels sort of pudgy or miniature. Part of me wishes it was just a bit taller or higher somehow. The bulb actually puts out a bit of heat—you can warm up your hands if you get them within about 1.5 inches from the light. The metal switch has a very substantial and satisfying click when you turn it on and off. The red power cord certainly stands out and makes a statement, but that’s great because I like lots of color.
The paperclip holder, aka the dish, is the smallest item of the group. The pen holder is about three paper clip holders high. Both are solid, smooth and look and feel great—there’s not a lot else to say there.
I should mention that the bottom of each item—including the laptop stand and the mouse pad—is lined with cork on the bottom ; this means whatever your desk is made out of, the Grovemade Desk Collection is going to play nicely with it.
Every Grovemade product—including the entire Desk Collection—is made by hand and it really makes the products, and the experience of receiving them, stand out. When you first open the box the items were shipped in, you’ll notice a hand-signed card from the employee that inspected your order—a nice touch. And each item comes individually wrapped—you almost don’t want to unwrap them because someone took so much time making them look good in the first place (but eventually curiosity does kick in). On the bottom of most of the Desk Collection products there’s a seal that says “Made the hard way” with a picture of a hand holding a pencil with what appears to be a bandaid on one finger.
If you can afford it, don’t look for another desk set—so far I’ve never seen one that’s better. There’s definitely nothing quite like it.