As someone who spends much of my time seeking creative solutions to problems, there’s something very pleasing about discovering an innovative idea that not only works, but one whose inspiration came from some local Kiwi ingenuity.
When I was up in Wellington for an HASANZ meeting last week, I took the opportunity to call in to Refold and catch up with two entrepreneurial young men, Fraser Callaway and Oliver Ward, who have come up with an idea that could positively revolutionise workspace design.
Having heard and read about their invention, the Refold desk, I was keen to see their product for myself and hear their story firsthand. It was fascinating.
Far from setting out to design office furniture, Fraser and Oliver had set out to find professional work experience opportunities for students. More specifically, they had come up with the idea of design students getting on-the-job industry experience (as part of their studies) rather than being unleashed on the world without having ever known the pressures and challenges of being in a busy design space.
Whilst calling on various companies trying to get their idea off the ground they often heard that although these organisations would love to offer such a chance to students, there simply wasn’t enough desk space in their offices for them to do so.
Undeterred, they put their heads together and came up with a practical solution; an inexpensive, easy to assemble, portable standing height desk made from cardboard which folds down to a flat pack the size of a large drawing board, and can be re-assembled in less than two minutes! Brilliant!
Of course, once they’d come up with a workable design, the next challenge was to try and get this idea off the ground. Turning to an online appeal for source funding, their campaign exceeded expectations as people caught on to, and bought into, their idea.
Made in Wellington from recyclable cardboard, the Refold desk not only works, but it also comes with optional design changes. If you would prefer something other than plain cardboard, you have the option to put any design on your desk that you like!
In that regard, when it comes to function vs form, the Refold desk ticks the boxes in both camps. As well as being a portable work area for design students, it lends itself to many applications (both design-wise and price-wise) such as home-based offices, schools, exhibitions, conferences and other temporary spaces and places. I truly hope these Kiwi designers get the recognition they deserve. I’m looking forward to seeing how their idea develops and will keep you posted on progress.