It’s no secret that offices are shrinking.
Many businesses have taken to reducing workspace as a means to trimming their budgets while the economy limps along. As a result, all those giant cubicles and grand conference tables of yesteryear are becoming dinosaurs in offices that are trying to use small spaces more efficiently.
Furniture designers are taking note of the trend and have come up with some unique solutions for compact, portable workstations like the Openaire laptop case that transforms into a lightweight chair and work surface, or the Fold N Go True Adjust Portable workstation which resembles an oversized footstool.
One of the newest entries is BOXED, an innovative wooden briefcase created by Scottish designer Tyrone Stoddart that turns into a workstation in minutes. Take a look:
“I began looking into how the size of living space is decreasing year by year, and as we gradually learn to live in smaller spaces, our products need to be designed in light of this,” Stoddart told Wired. “This led to the idea of multi-functional furniture but not just that, as I wanted it to be adaptable.”
BOXED can be turned into a desk, coffee table, two stools and a lamp. The box contains just 24 pieces total: The case itself, two stools, a lamp and 20 legs.
If you’ve ever played with Tinker toys or assembled cheap shelving, then you’ll be able to put together your new BOXED workstation in a jiffy. Just open up the briefcase, remove the the board that will serve as the stool’s seat and screw on the legs (no tools required, the legs come with screws already attached). Screw on the legs to the bottom of the briefcase, also known as your work surface, with one pole on each corner if you’re using it as a coffee table or two poles on each corner for a desk. Finally, turn your stool and desk over and screw on the pole with attached desk lamp. Voila! Your desk in a box is assembled in the amount of time it takes for you to get your afternoon cup of coffee.
As if its portable design weren’t enough, BOXED is also trying to raise awareness about chalara or ash dieback: A disease that’s killing off ash trees. Each briefcase comes with a small pouch of ash seeds intended for the buyer to plant and get a better understanding about the natural resources used in everyday products and the need to replenish them.
The verdict is still out on whether products like BOXED will having staying power in the modern workplace. While it’s not yet available for purchase, Stoddart is currently looking into mass producing it eventually.
From where we’re sitting, it’s not likely the average employee will be happy working on a stool day after day, and while we love the simplicity of the product, the lack of any extra storage space might cramp our hoarding ways a bit.
However, as the number of telecommuters and freelancers grow, we can see the appeal to a product like this for someone seeking temporary workspace on the go. In fact, we’d love to set up our BOXED desk poolside at a tropical resort. It looks like there’s just enough space for a laptop and a margarita.