Want to cut down on your paperwork? So did Edward E. Elson, chairman of Elson's, headquartered in Atlanta, a $100-million retailer of publications and gifts with locations in hotels, airports, and office buildings throughout the country. Elson's stainless steel-paneled office contains a Le Corbusier lounge chair, art deco cabinets, and a white marble cube surrounded by six Le Corbusier club chairs, all on an eighteenth-century rug. A vase with fresh flowers and a mirrored tray are the only items that sit on the cube. There is no desk or work space at all.

"As head of the company I feel that my job should be talking and interacting with people," explains Elson, "and not a lot of mundane paper pushing. A desk puts an artificial barrier between myself and someone else. I want my office to reflect humanized values and put visitors at ease."