This problem got the design juices flowing, and Ken and Sean embarked on an ethnographic deep dive all over Portland, visiting and studying workspaces and workstyles in offices big and small.
"The monitor stand looks great with a single monitor, but when you stretch it out, it starts to lose the proportions that make it so attractive in the first place."
Natural, machinable, soft, light, resilient and strong, the perfect material for creating lightweight and strong supports.
Sean created a sandwich concept—a metal insert for extra rigidity, layered between two cork halves. These legs would be pressure fit into precision machined pockets in the desk shelf bottom.
The cork legs also helped with a major hurdle—shipping costs. The desk shelf was the largest product we’d ever developed, and we needed to find a way for it to ship flat. The lightweight cork legs were easy to assemble (no tools needed!) and made for a much more cost-effective shipping method.
The mechanics for how the legs and shelf would interact was dialed in, but many questions lingered: How many legs would it need? How would people really use it?
"We pushed the design towards something that gave a huge degree of usability. We know everyone works differently, so the workspace solutions have to account for that with flexibility."
"Ironically, the laptop lift alone ended up taking about 80% of the total time we spent designing the desk shelf system. We have to push our designs to match our expectations, but also what’s feasible to produce in real life."
He integrated the stop design we’d created for the laptop stand, and used wool felt as a soft surface, providing a nice visual contrast to the wooden shelf top. It could sit on the top of the shelf, or function solo on a flat desk surface, typed on directly.