Historically, lecterns were reading desks that were used by priests during mass, though that meaning has evolved since the beginning of the 20th century, and now any tall desk used by a speaker to address a large audience, often in academic lecture theatres or conference halls, is called a lectern.

Some lecterns offer comprehensive solutions to technical requirements. WINI Büromöbel’s angular ‘Winea Matrix’ lectern, for example, incorporates a cupboard in its body, making it an ideal place to store a central computing unit (CPU), as well as concealing any cables. Joan Gaspar’s ‘Nagoya’ lectern for Planning Sisplamo has a more expressive shape, but it nevertheless manages to incorporate power and connectivity modules, as well as a reading light and a microphone.

‘Teneo’ lectern, designed by Ayse Birsel and Bibi Seck for Herman Miller Europe, not only incorporates generous storage space in its body, but it is also mounted on castors and forms a part of a comprehensive range of mobile storage solutions.

However, due to increasingly user-friendly technology, such as laptops and wireless networks, it is once again perfectly acceptable to have lecterns which are functionally straightforward standing desks. There is plenty of variation here too, from the expressive, internally-illuminated, polyethylene ‘Swish’, designed by Karim Rashid for Slide; the pared-down, classically-proportioned, austere ‘Icon’, designed by Klaus Michel for VARIO; to Otto Sudrow’s ‘Milla High Desk’ for Richard Lampert, whose structurally minimal steel skeleton was inspired by Egon Eiermann’s classic ‘Eiermann Table 1’.

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