Minimal Scandinavian Desk Setup in Odense, Denmark

“I’m like a digital Van Gogh, except worse and with both my ears intact”

Trish Ramos
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Name: Lasse Jensen

Location: Odense, Denmark

Occupation: 3D Designer and Visualiser

Room size: 40 m² (431 ft²) — living room

Cost of the setup: ~$8K, including desk and chair

Social media: Instagram, YouTube

Website: My Gear

Hey, Lasse! Tell us a bit about yourself

I’m a 3D designer based in Odense, Denmark.

A title that doesn’t say much, but I try to explain my current position as “producing visual material that helps drive sales and win tenders”. Currently, I’m employed at one of the largest playground manufacturers in the world.

Do you know how you always hear people say millennials want jobs that make us feel like we’re doing something that matters?

Helping create happier and healthier communities through play is a message I can get behind.

August 2021 will mark six years since Lasse Jensen started working for a playground manufacturer as a 3D designer and visualiser.
August 2021 will mark six years since Lasse started working for a playground manufacturer as a 3D designer and visualiser. He's not looking to stop anytime soon. “Creating images just does something for me”

We live in a very visual world.

90% of information perceived by the brain is visual.

It’s one of the reasons why social media like Instagram is so popular. A really good image can sell a product or make you click that Follow button, without anyone having to say a single word.

It’s a challenging profession as what looks good is ever-changing, and a good looking image doesn’t necessarily mean a successful image. There’s a fine line between the two, and I don’t think I nail it every time.

I use a 3D rendering as my base and usually paint, mix and match photos on top of my render to get to where I want.

I like to tell people that I actually despise the look of 3D. But since I can’t draw, I need a base to get the perspective and lighting just right.

I’m like a digital Van Gogh, except worse and with both my ears intact.

In my spare time, I work on my photography. I recently bought my first new camera, a Fujifilm X-T4 and I've fallen head over heels in love with that thing.

I can’t seem to put it down. So I’m working on ways to turn my photography into a small side-hustle. Currently, I’m mostly using it for my Instagram, capturing textures and for 3D work.

I should probably get into shooting half-naked women, I hear that’s where the followers are.

Lasse Jensen's home workspace
Unsplash, a photo discovery platform, has been one of the marketing avenues for Lasse to generate exposure for his work

The pandemic has made all my other hobbies almost impossible to do. So I’ve also picked up digital marketing as one of my projects — my Instagram and personal website being my two main areas of focus.

Nowadays, if you want to build your brand, you’ve got to have at least some marketing skills. With the popularity of the internet and social media, there’s a lot of noise out there.

The psychology behind standing out from the rest is super interesting to me.

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Can you describe your home setup?

Item Model
Monitor ASUS
Mouse Logitech G Pro
Keyboard Logitech Craft
Headphones BeoPlay H95
Speakers Audioengine A2
Chair Autonomous Ergo Chair 2

I used to be a big Windows Phone guy.

One time I stumbled upon a blog post written by Andrew Kim — a designer now working at Apple.

He was reviewing the Nokia Lumia 920, the phone I had at the time. The way he talked about the design and product stuck with me. And besides being a brilliant designer, he also shot some amazing photos. They were super simple but resonated with me for some reason.

So when I moved in with my girlfriend this January, I decided to downsize and try to recreate a space where I could take the same kind of photos.

That way, I would’ve been able to mimic the simplicity and feeling that I used to get from looking at his website.

This is just a fancy way of saying I enjoy minimalism.
Natural light helps home office workers sleep better
Natural light helps home office workers sleep better, according to researchers

I had a few requirements that I felt were a must.

I’m a sucker for natural light, so I wanted as much as possible. Placing my desk next to our tilted window worked nicely.

The Hübsch desk is not as sturdy as I thought it would be. The two monitors make it wobble from time to time. But overall, it’s quite good.

I’d love a standing desk but I find them all horrendously awful looking. I think my next desk might be from Artifox if I can find the courage to swallow the import taxes.

Maybe I’ll make my own desk one day, just need to grow a beard and get myself a flannel shirt first.

My latest purchase was the Ergo Chair 2 from Autonomous. Quite a good chair for the money, although I did have to remove the armrests to make it fit in my tiny space. Not a big problem, I’m not a big armrest guy anyway. (Not that I don’t have arms — I definitely do)

I also needed a cabled connection for fast access to network storage. For a couple of days, I was considering turning my rig into a small form factor PC. However, the amount of heat my parts were generating could not be controlled in such a small package (Titan RTX and a Ryzen 3950x).

So I decided to invest in some quieter fans instead. This way my S/O also wouldn’t kill me. She hates my mechanical keyboard, so it rests nicely in the drawer. I don’t blame her.

Minimal home office in Odense, Denmark
The Mac could also have been a viable option, according to Lasse. Nevertheless, “the amount of raw horsepower I need, and the fact that my main 3D software doesn’t run on macOS, keep me as a prisoner in the Windows ecosystem”

For my peripherals, I tend to use whatever doesn’t look top “gamery”. Which is difficult, because I still do game occasionally. My go-to’s are currently Warzone and Apex Legends (shooters, as they are easy to get in and out of quickly).

No lights and no over-the top-branding are some of my requirements, but I often have to compromise.

As for the speakers, I’m rocking the Audioengine A2 which are fine for my needs. I often use headphones, so speakers are more for when I’m listening to podcasts.

The best mouse I’ve ever used is the Logitech G Pro. And the keyboard is a Logitech Craft. The Craft is fine, I’m getting into mechanical keyboards but it’s difficult to find anything that supports the ISO layout. So for now, I’ll continue to use the Craft.

Overall, I’m pretty happy with how it is currently. I’d like to turn my two-monitor setup into an ultrawide one. But there aren’t really any ultrawides currently, that fit my requirements and needs. Maybe in the future...

What’s your favourite item on your desk?

He-he, definitely my desk buddy baby Yoda.

“It’s not a cool gadget or a productivity hack, but this desk buddy holds a lot of sentimental value to me,” says Lasse

My girlfriend gave it to me. I like to look down on him when I feel a little annoyed or stressed (happens quite a lot when working with 15-year-old software).

It’s also a nice way to take a break from looking at my monitor, stretch my eyes so to speak.

What does your typical day look like?

I arrive to work at around 7:45-8:00 am depending on the traffic.

I’m very lucky that my department was still allowed to show up, even though we’re in the middle of a pandemic.

The amount of data we move daily was so massive, that there was no way to make that happen over VPN. Our tables have been moved to make sure there’s ample space between us, and all calls happen over Microsoft Teams.

I try to check my email first thing as I arrive at work, after getting a coffee of course. If I have time, I browse a few news sites before checking the day's tasks.

I use Microsoft To Do for personal tasks and our CRM system for updates on ongoing projects.

I do work from home when the work allows for it, mostly when I need to do some matte painting in Photoshop.

I get in the zone after about 20-30 mins, and I find that there’s a higher chance of seamless uninterrupted work when I am at home.

In total, I probably only work from home 1-2 days a week. I find that it strikes a good balance between being in the office and getting some quiet time at home.

I try to only put in my eight hours as often as possible. Most of my growth happens on personal projects outside of work. So leaving as much time as possible for those is a priority for me.

Especially now that we are looking into moving to real-time engines such as Unreal Engine 4 and Unity. It requires a shift in mindset, but I am slowly getting there.

Lasse's computer setup is minimalist yet sophisticated and timeless
Lasse's computer setup is minimalist yet sophisticated and timeless

The current world situation has drastically changed the way I spend my time outside of work.

My new year's resolution for 2020 was to consume with intent. That means I wouldn’t just sit down and watch another mediocre Netflix documentary that would be cancelled after two seasons anyway.

I would rather look for meaningful documentaries or Oscar-winning films. I'd also try to do my research and reach out for recommendations online and in my inner circle.

My inner circle has terrible taste, so I’d probably end up on Netflix anyway. So I put that on the back burner for now, maybe next year.

I got myself a Nintendo Switch that I’m thoroughly enjoying, it’s such a neat little device and it doesn’t alienate non-gamers.

I used to have the Switch Lite, but my hands started to cramp after just 15 minutes of use, so I splurged and got the regular version so I could dock it.

I love playing Breath of the Wild after a long day, it's such an amazing and relaxing game. I even got my S/O to play a couple of games with me — we’re having a lot of fun with Overcooked!

It sort of functions like the IKEA relationship test, but with more screaming and fewer meatballs.

As I stated earlier, we live in Odense, a fairly large city considering we’re in Denmark.

It’s the birthplace of Hans Christian Andersen, writer of many of the world's most famous fairy tales. You can tell that his presence is still in the city to this day.

Lasse says that Odense is the embodiment of the word hygge. ‘It’s very cosy and relaxed, not as crowded or fast-paced as Copenhagen or Aarhus’
Lasse says that Odense is the embodiment of the word hygge. “It’s very cosy and relaxed, not as crowded or fast-paced as Copenhagen or Aarhus”

Living on an island means we always have the ocean close by, and we’re surrounded by beautiful nature.

I love living here, but it’s been six years and I’m itching for something new.

Currently, we have our eyes on Copenhagen or areas close by.

Your tips for working from home?

I’ve tried a lot of terrible tips from YouTube influencers and the like.

But I guess if you want that add-money, using a tip like “remember to breathe” makes sense.

I think I’ve sorted through the trash and found the ones that actually work, at least in my case:

  • After an initial 30 minutes of reading emails and news, I set a timer on my phone for 90 minutes. For those 90 minutes, I am not allowed to pick up my phone or procrastinate. When my timer rings, I take a 15-minute break to stretch, go to the bathroom and grab a new cup of coffee/water. There are so many distractions at home, and this seems to be the best method of getting stuff done that I've found.
  • Every morning I take a couple of minutes to clean my desk and the desktop on my PC. I’m not good with clutter, I only want stuff on my computer/desk that I will be working with that day.
The best WFH tip of all times – change the scenery from time to time
Bonus tip from Lasse: change the scenery from time to time. “I like to move around a bit. If I’m writing, I will sometimes move to my dining table”
  • Every year, clean all your drawers and move them into a box. Then gradually start putting back stuff that you need. Only then you'll realise that all the nicknacks you’ve accumulated over time are actually not needed. They can be put into storage or recycled.
  • If you listen to music, find something rhythmic with no vocals.
  • Go for a walk. Your body was designed to move, seriously. It’s both healthy and good for thinking. This one the YouTubers got right!
  • If stuff is not going your way, take a break, work at night. Use WFH to your advantage.
  • Avoid black holes: Instagram, Reddit, Facebook. They’re all bottomless pits, you could be scrolling forever. Avoid them during working hours.

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