Desk solutions: enhancing productivity one desk at a time : DesignWanted


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May 30, 2023

Desk solutions: enhancing productivity one desk at a time : DesignWanted

Nitika Choraria Nitika is a design writer who graduated in Digital Management

Nitika Choraria

Nitika is a design writer who graduated in Digital Management from Istituto Marangoni Milano. For her - design is a boundless medium of self-expression that encapsulates a balance between functionality and aesthetics.


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From Charcoal to HeijltjesAkkaya, Prooff, Raw Edges, +Halle, Peter Fehrentz and More – today designers and brands are helping users unlock their full potential through innovative desk solutions that enhance productivity and encourage movement.

Did you know that your brain needs calibrated breaks in the day as much as it needs sleep at night?

Charcoal ran a study to investigate the effect of breaks and sleep duration on cognitive performance and brilliantly released a standing desk with a built-in light that recommends when users should take breaks to maintain their 9am energy throughout the day.

"The brain has a stress threshold – exceeding it causes burnout and slow recovery. But if stress remains within the limit, the brain recovers quickly even when tired" explains Charcoal.

This eclectic but one-of-a-kind piece of furniture skillfully finds critical recovery points for one utilizing presence sensors and pre-loaded data based on EEG scans.

A Simple Machine by HeijltjesAkkaya for Prooff, on the other hand, harmoniously blends ergonomics and engineering to invite physical activity in the workplace.

Its pulleys, weights and levers, powered by human energy, seamlessly enable a new working rhythm.

Additionally, for the Sui Desk Chair for +Halle, Raw Edges looked to the dynamic nature of production in public spaces.

Sui effortlessly typifies elegance in a seat made to serve one's liking, enhancing any space with the perfect comfort of on-the-go productivity.

Lastly, with its large surface, three drawers and endless inspiration – Harri Writing Desk by Peter Fehrentz for More is one with plenty of space.

Helping users maintain their 9am energy throughout the day – American electronics brand Charcoal releases a standing desk with a built-in light that recommends when one should take breaks.

Embodying a sleek design, it's crafted to improve the user's wellbeing to a similar effect as regular exercise or a healthy, balanced diet.

This product features a small light in one corner that illuminates when a break is recommended.

"The desk calibrates breaks for crucial moments in the day when the brain is wired to refuel and clear metabolic waste.

Breaks taken during these healing windows essentially "reset the brain" – enabling users to maintain their 9 am energy throughout the day.

Taking a break before or after the healing window doesn't aid recovery – when a break is delayed, excessive stress hormones prevent recovery.

And when a break is taken early, the brain is just not wired to recover, it continues to be active and therefore a break again becomes necessary during the healing window!" explains Charcoal.

Additionally available in two sizes – it has a minimalistic design comprising a slimline tabletop supported by two upright columns with telescopic mechanisms, allowing the desk's height to be adjusted to seating or standing positions.

"The emphasis was on making a better desk – not a smart desk.

To maintain an honest evolution, we balanced the design between creating a sense of comfort and reflecting state-of-the-art technology!" Drishti Desai, Chief of Industrial Design and Co-founder at Charcoal adds.

Dutch design studio HeijltjesAkkaya by Maarten Heijltjes and Simon Akkaya fabricates A Simple Machine – a collection of adjustable office furniture for furniture brand Prooff which has to be manually raised and lowered in order to invite physical activity.

Relying on simple mechanical systems to move the height of their tabletop – this collection features two sit-stand desks.

While one piece of furniture utilizes a pulley system with a cylindrical, customisable counterweight, the other uses a lever with a gas spring – both systems clearly visible to users and optionally color-coded in distinct hues.

It's crafted as an alternative to nondescript electrical sit-stand desks, which contradicts the active behavior they try to stimulate since their design is inherently passive.

"Thoughtlessly pushing a button, with a slow and tedious movement as a result, doesn't fit the value of a more conscious attitude to how we work!" says Heijltjes.

In showing how it works, A Simple Machine asks the user to understand the mechanics – it reflects the necessary consciousness for staying healthy and active.

"Our aim was twofold – we wanted to design an object that lasts and inspires a consciousness, or maybe an attitude" Heijltjes adds.

At first, the Counterweight Table embodies a cylindrical counterweight affixed to a pulley system that is integrated into the frame.

In order to change the height of the tabletop – users need to unlock the system with a half-turn of the handles on each side of the table, then give the top a slight push up or down.

To keep the counterweight approximately equal to the weight of the tabletop, there's an accompanying Kettle Bell accessory holding extra weights that can be added to the table as needed.

The Gas Spring Table, on the other hand, utilizes a gas spring and a lever with a skateboard wheel attached to one end that rolls along the underside of the aluminum tabletop, allowing users to simply push their work surface up or down.

This collection is further completed by the Hour Stool, which promotes active sitting and can be wound up or down to adjust its height.

All the furniture frames are lastly made of folded steel and standard industrial parts and come in either neutral finishes such as black and white or a distinctive green to enhance the studio's color-coding approach.

A dynamic armchair that doubles as a productive desk space – London studio Raw Edges designs the Sui Desk Chair for Danish furniture brand +Halle.

With an upholstered circular swivel seat encompassed by a semicircular lacquered solid oak table top – it was crafted to encourage movement and productivity, preventing one from sitting at desks in the same position for long periods.

This object can be used as a generous armchair with the tabletop forming the backrest and wide armrests.

Alternatively – users can additionally swivel to face the opposite direction and utilize the semicircular tabletop as a desk, which provides ample workspace.

"The inviting desk chair is enlivened with a swivel and an embracing wooden surface, creating an intriguing niche with its hybrid, multi-purpose use.

When seated – every aspect of the object evokes free movement, with refined yet generous angles, opening for a wide welcome yet private sphere.

There comes a point in the public realm where private spaces become essential – Sui is that personal seat, but as opposed to a closed-off station, the desk chair is conversational, created with independence and dignity in mind!" says +Halle.

Available with an optional integrated power plug – it further comes in a variety of colors.

Aiming to give creatives plenty of space to lose themselves in their work – Designer Peter Fehrentz develops the Harri writing desk for German brand More.

Founded in 1993 – More designs and manufactures in Germany utilizing slow-grown solid wood from trusted sawmill partners.

This product has a large tabletop and three drawers to accommodate people who, like Fehrentz himself, need many materials around them as they work.

"I don't really work in a minimalist way – I pile up many things around me and I have many elements that I work with simultaneously!" shares Fehrentz.

Rather than be pushed to the edges, Fehrentz and More wanted the desk to have a mature presence that would allow it to stand freely in a room.

The designer looked to the warehouses of Hamburg for further inspiration – borrowing their aesthetic of wooden laths for the front of the drawers.


This Week's top reads

innovative desk solutions 1. Charcoal Desk by Charcoal 2. A Simple Machine by HeijltjesAkkaya for Prooff 3. Sui Desk Chair by Raw Edges for +Halle 4. Harri Writing Desk by Peter Fehrentz for More