08 November 2016
Designing the Laptop Stand
Everything we create begins with the passion of our team, then transforms step-by-step into something you can enjoy for a lifetime. Here is the story behind the Grovemade Laptop Stand.
The Grovemade Monitor Stand is one of our favorite and most popular products to date, but many of us here are laptop users. While we love the ergonomic and organizational benefits while using our iMacs, we wanted to extend those perks to the laptop. After several discussions, our design team of Sean and Ken decided to tackle that problem.

The Base

Going forward with a stand for laptops meant taking a good look at our monitor stand. While deconstructing the existing piece, our design language required that we consider the specific elements the laptop stand would address: the elevation of the platform, whether it should lay flat or at an angle, and its look when not in use.
With the glue lamination technique employed with our monitor stand being terrifically sturdy, lightweight, and capable of being molded into sculptural structures, we thought it natural to use it as the benchmark for the laptop stand. Next was deciding on the shape. To get an idea of what might work and what might not, we made numerous crude models out of cardboard.
Initially, we tried for a shape that was completely distinct from our monitor stand, beginning by exploring widely with various forms and techniques. Through our modeling, we concluded that a forward pitch would work best with a laptop. With a rear incline, the stand would elevate the screen of the laptop, thus improving the ease of viewing and adding an ergonomic benefit by taking pressure off of the neck and back (looking forward at the screen as opposed to down).

At the same time, we could not agree on any of the “newer” looks, and as we continued to put new concepts forward, we kept feeling the pull of the simple yet streamlined design of the Grovemade Monitor Stand. In the end, we all agreed that the laptop stand should have the essence of the monitor stand while having its own unique perspective as well.

"I really wanted the laptop stand to work well with our monitor stand, since they would often be used side by side. It had to look good with and without a laptop on it, since our customers would be looking at it everyday."

With the look in hand, we set about finalizing the technical aspects of the laptop stand. We experimented with widening and narrowing the platform and base but weren’t satisfied with any of those results. Our eureka moment came when we took one of our monitor stands and cut its legs down to an angle. Doing so caused it to flare out to the sides, lending it a form that was sleek and refined. This structure, we realized, would let the stand function both as a resting place for a laptop and as a stylish accompaniment to the desktop regardless of whether the laptop was in use. Having settled on the design of the body, we started on the piece that would keep the laptop in place.

Designing the Stop

Starting off, we went the lightweight and flexible route by taking wire and bending it into a stop for the laptop. We found that the wire was a versatile material to work with and it did a fine job in keeping whatever size laptop we put atop the stand in place. Yet there was something about it that made us uncomfortable. It was the look of the wire itself: it was too sparse, as though we’d taken a big wire hanger and manipulated it into a stop. Even though it was functional, it took away from the aesthetic we desired.

“We like to think of our goods as well-considered sculptures that offer continued visual surprises as they’re experienced from different angles, and while the wire stop was practical, inexpensive, and easy to manipulate, it did not live up to our design standards. So we scrapped it.”

Product Designer
Our next concept led us to using sheet metal to form the stop, and we hand cut several rough models in the shop. With each model, we moved forward until we arrived at a single piece of steel with a slight depression capable of holding any size of laptop. While figuring out where on the stand to affix the stop, we decided that instead of placing it flush with the chamfer (the angled edge of the stand), we would leave a small reveal between the two. By cladding the stop in leather, we could then prevent damage to the laptop while providing material continuity with the rest of the Grovemade Desk Collection.
With the main elements in place, we explored adding a few accessories. Although we came up with a couple of fun ideas, the addition of drawers and shelves did not increase the performance of the stand, and they would only help to add complexity to a product designed to be austere and uncluttered. Simplicity, we saw, was best.
Designing and making our new laptop stand was an enjoyable and, at times, challenging experience. By constructing our stand with materials that are naturally beautiful and durable, the result is a piece that functions as well with a device as without, and its ergonomic and organizational benefits will provide comfort and order. We hope the Grovemade Laptop Stand will transform your workspace for the better.

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Available in Walnut or Maple

Further Reading